Mustafa Ali learned he would be RETRIBUTION’s leader the day of

WWE, Mustafa Ali Credit:
WWE, Mustafa Ali Credit: /

As maligned as the RETRIBUTION stable is by most fans, imagine how much worse things would be if Mustafa Ali wasn’t the group’s leader.

While the talented former foundational piece of 205 Live hasn’t papered over all of the group’s flaws and inconsistent booking, his attention-grabbing promos and efforts in piecing together logical backstories for each member of the faction garnered him plenty of praise from even the staunchest of RETRIBUTION detractors — even if they think those efforts are in vain.

Given the “ripped from the headlines” origins of RETRIBUTION, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that Ali becoming the leader of the group came together just as rashly.

Mustafa Ali discusses what lead to him becoming RETRIBUTION’s figurehead.

Speaking with, Ali said this about how got the spot as RETRIBUTION’s leader, which coincided with him practically auditioning for a heel turn (h/t to Fightful’s Jeremy Lambert for the transcription):

"“I wasn’t around during the formation of the group, so I don’t know,” Ali said when asked if he was always going to be the leader of the group. “You never know here. They keep secrets for a reason. I found out I was joining Retribution that day, but I had been auditioning, so to speak. Again, man, storytelling, I kind of looked at my career at a snapshot. I made my return. Nothing really happened. I was off for seven months, for no apparent reason to me other than just creative had nothing for me. When I was initially looking at the mirror, I go, ‘What is wrong with me? Nothing’s wrong with me. Look at me.’ Again, after seven months, you have to eventually have that look in the mirror and go, “What am I missing?” I think the thing I was missing was a little bit of edge. I knew I could cut a great promo. But again, within the confines of being a good guy, you’re very limited as to what you can say.”Ali continued by saying, “So I presented the idea of doing something. It wasn’t being the leader of Retribution, it was, I met with Vince McMahon and the creative writing team and said, ‘I think I’m capable of doing more and this is the route I’d like to go.’ And it was basically, ‘Well, you’d have to show us.’ So I recorded my own promos, my own videos. I had to audition basically to not be a good guy anymore. And if you go back and you watch these WWE Main Event matches I was having before joining Retribution, you would see the small details, the storytelling when I was slowly becoming more aggressive, a little bit more violent, having a little bit more of these heelish tendencies in my matches.”"

Ali revealed himself as RETRIBUTION’s leader on the Oct. 5 episode of WWE Raw. Since then, the group has mostly moved away from its initial presentation as anti-corporate anarchists and has focused more on personal vendettas against wrestlers, particularly those Ali has a vendetta against. Fans have also seen the early signs of fracturing within the group over the last few weeks, with Ali berating the group for its failures.

dark. Next. WWE: It’s time to finally break up the failed RETRIBUTION faction

Ali most recently faced Riddle for the United States Championship on the March 15 episode of Raw, with Riddle picking up the clean win to retain his title.

You can read the rest of the interview at this link.