WWE's Retribution, a faction formed during the pandemic, had an intriguing but short-lived journey. Initially, Mustafa Ali was positioned as the group's leader, but the faction was eventually disbanded. Despite their potential, Retribution struggled to find a solid footing in WWE's narrative, with members like Mace and T-Bar clinging to their gimmicks the longest.
Currently, Dijak has moved to NXT and Mia Yim has rebranded as Michin on the main roster, while others have been released. In a candid conversation with Wrestling News, the former Mace delved into the original vision for Retribution.
The group began with smaller, masked figures causing chaos, but criticism over their size led to a shift towards larger, more imposing members. This pivot included Mace, who leveraged his time as an extra to secure a more prominent role.
FOX's Concern Alters Retribution
The initial plan, as Mace revealed, was to portray Retribution as an Antifa-inspired group. This angle, however, was abruptly halted when FOX, the broadcaster for SmackDown, expressed reservations about featuring such a politically charged storyline on their network.
This prompted WWE to drastically alter the faction's direction, transitioning them into supervillains with distinct masks. Mace shared his enthusiasm for this new direction, likening it to a Power Rangers vibe. Despite these changes, Retribution struggled to regain its momentum.
The lack of a live audience due to the Thunderdome era made it difficult to gauge public reception. Mace reflected on this unique period, noting how audience feedback, or the lack thereof, could have shaped the faction's evolution.
He expressed curiosity about how a live crowd might have responded to Retribution's antics, whether with fear or ironic amusement. Vince McMahon's initial involvement in crafting Retribution's narrative was evident, but his waning interest ultimately led to the group's downfall.
As the WWE landscape continues to evolve under Triple H's leadership, it remains to be seen if any elements of the Retribution concept will resurface. For now, the faction's story remains a unique chapter in WWE's pandemic-era history, marked by unfulfilled potential and creative shifts.