Induction: RETRIBUTION – The 2020 Gooker Award winner

55 Submitted by on Thu, 04 February 2021, 20:00

RETRIBUTION was a faction that could only have emerged in 2020. For one thing, it was that summer that saw historic unrest in American cities, sparked by numerous deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police. Coast-to-coast Black Lives Matter protests, violence between Antifa and right-wing groups, destructive anarchist riots, often-brutal reprisals by law enforcement – these events would fundamentally shift the American public’s views of justice, race, and history.

WWE’s takeaway from the whole thing was to create a heel wrestling stable.

The other reason why RETRIBUTION could only have emerged, and survived, in 2020 was that it was also the year WWE stopped having live audiences. That meant no feedback from the fans: no cheering, no booing, and, especially relevant to RETRIBUTION, no derisive chants or audible apathy. In any other year, a group that looked and spoke like RETRIBUTION might have been laughed out of the ring or, worse, ignored by the live crowd and pulled from the air. But in 2020, WWE got to exercise total control over the group’s on-air reception, piping in crowd noise and coaching fans on their webcams to visibly jeer their every action, no matter how ineffectual their antics or pretentious their promos.

I.

Of all the lazy ways to introduce a faction, especially one meant to be unpredictable, none could be lazier than the way WWE introduced RETRIBUTION. On the WWE website, the company notified fans that a new faction would be debuting that night on Raw, and to be on the lookout for any mayhem they might cause.

So as not to make a liar out of wwe.com’s editor, the group arrived on cue Monday night to set a generator on fire. The vandals were visibly giddy, patting themselves on the back for their good work. But let’s be clear: destruction of property was nothing to celebrate, and neither was this group’s throwing technique.

Just look at that form! These chumps never would have made it out of Little League.

The hijinks carried over onto Smackdown, where RETRIBUTION trashed the ringside area to close the show. This was the first time we got a good look at the faction, and boy were they short. A masked Joaquin Wilde had to look up at an ordinary cameraman just to threaten him with a baseball bat.

Though one group member painted an anti-WWE symbol on the ringside plexiglass, the rest of the bunch had little idea what to do with their cans of spray paint.

Most drew swiggles everywhere. One put a single line through the Smackdown logo, another tried in vain to tag the canvas, and one member, bless her heart, sprayed paint into the air like a can of air freshener.

Yeah! Paint that air!

One of the diminutive delinquents brought a chainsaw to the ring and cut up the ring ropes, the cheapest thing in the whole arena, while the rest of the masked morons high-fived and jumped for joy.

Though failing as rioters, this new faction did manage to capture the energy of those imbeciles who jump the barricade at shows every now and then.

The Dork Order returned for more mischief on Raw, telling off a lone Performance Center employee, throwing a cinder block through a glass door, and then scampering off in celebration. Later, they attacked Braun Strowman’s car.

I assume it was Braun’s (It was upside down)

On August 14th, the gang invaded Smackdown again. To prevent any further interference, the Smackdown surrounded the ring for the main event. But this tactic backfired when The Group That Calls Themselves RETRIBUTION (or TGTCTRETRIBUTION, for short) stormed the backstage area and laid waste to the referees.

Speaking of waste, an unidentified WWE Superstar or official was on the toilet during the mayhem, so one of the hooded assailants barricaded him in the john as if the poor guy weren’t indisposed already. But just think of the pure, visceral fear RETRIBUTION could have inspired had they actually suckerpunched the guy while he was on the can!

The next Raw, the group invaded the production truck, fast-forwarded through the WWE Then Now Forever intro, and destroyed some laptops nobody was using. Worst of all, they forced Raw to go to commercial, where viewers were subjected to yet another commercial for Frank Thomas’s magic sex pills.

II.

That week’s Smackdown featured the debut of the WWE Thunderdome, a massive and much-hyped setup featuring thousands of square feet of LED boards to simulate a live audience. Vince McMahon himself even opened the live show to inaugurate the new equipment. This was the perfect opportunity for the group of radicals to strike.

But an attack on the Chairman, the actual owner of the company RETRIBUTION hated so much, was not in the cards. Instead, a group of fifteen masked men and women swarmed Braun Strowman. In response, exactly fifteen Smackdown Superstars rushed in to battle the invaders.

Within 45 seconds, every member of Retribution was expelled from the ring, and the only reason it took that long was that the male and female WWE Superstars had to be careful only to fight gang members of the same gender.

For the record, the women of RETRIBUTION were the ones in hoodies two sizes too big.

One would think that in the remaining hour and 50 minutes of airtime, RETRIBUTION would return to destroy some of WWE’s precious Thunderdome equipment. They did not. While RETRIBUTION was cool with petty property damage (windows, ropes), they wouldn’t dare cost WWE any serious money by smashing up its new video screens.

The Thunderdome also emerged unscathed at that Sunday’s Summerslam pay-per-view, which, while advertised with the tagline, “You’ll never see it coming”, RETRIBUTION avoided altogether.

RETRIBUTION wouldn’t lay a finger on the Thunderdome on the next Raw, or the Raw after that, or the Raw after that, and so on. The worst they ever did was splatter their logo everywhere, as if someone had left the Thunderdome parked under a tree for a month.

And as for Smackdown? RETRIBUTION never appeared on that show again, choosing to make their destruction of WWE brand-exclusive.

III.

RETRIBUTION re-emerged after Summerslam as a six-person core (three men, three women) to interrupt Raw’s tag team main event.

The following Raw, they scaled back their operations even further, dropping Kayden Carter from their ranks to continue as a five-piece. It was certainly a risk, given that Adam Pearce had hired exactly five security guards that night to keep them out of the building. Pearce’s security measures were in vain; RETRIBUTION disposed of the guards easily, then wreaked havoc in the arena by…

…scaring away Angel Garza, thereby ruining his chances with Demi Burnett. Those bastards!

The next week, just as the Riott Squad was about to beat Nia Jax in a handicap match, the lights went out.

Backstage, the quintet cut its first promo, a confusing speech chock-full of ten-dollar words like “behemoth” and “façade”. Mia Yim complained about being forced to feed upon “the scraps of contempt”…

…while Dominic Dijakovic referred to the group as the “locusts of contempt”, whose darkness would seep into the pores of WWE’s Superstars and Universe. Holy mixed metaphors, Sherlock!

So baffling was the promo that when the house lights came back on, the announcers had forgotten there’d even been a match going on; the Riott Squad-Nia Jax match had simply ended.

The group’s next promo at least made their motivations crystal clear: they were disgruntled wrestlers at WWE’s Performance Center who, uh, refused to suck up or whatever. “When you show loyalty to an entity that casts people aside like garbage,” said Dijakovic, “you become garbage!” Or, in the words of a great Jewish philosopher, “Adjacent to refuse is refuse”.

Meanwhile, Backlund-esque phrases like “enjoy your last days of oblivion” suggested that the group didn’t know what half their threats even meant.

RETRIBUTION then disrupted the main event – not with another promo (thank God), but with violence. A dozen masked marauders laid out Drew McIntyre and Keith Lee before the Hurt Business made the save.

Though outnumbered 6 to 12, the Raw superstars proved an even match for the RETRIBUTION contingent who, being all-male this time, were fair game for the WWE guys.

IV.

The next Monday, RETRIBUTION opened Raw to announce their official signing to WWE. Gone were the ski masks. In their place were different masks. Stupid masks.

All the masks had their flaws; Yim’s for example, kept slipping off her nose like a bad COVID mask.

But SLAPJACK’s deserved extra scrutiny. CM Punk claimed that SLAPJACK’s mask was made out of a paper plate, but closer inspection suggested a styrofoam plate. The worst part, though, was that the eyeholes were too far apart, making poor Shane Thorne appear cross-eyed.

And the fun was just beginning, as Yim and Dijakovic, the group’s mouthpieces, then cut promos. In Yim’s characteristically wooden promo, she pointed the finger at WWE’s real problem: its greedy Superstars who were only in it for the money. Blaming the workers wasn’t the first thing you’d expect from an anti-corporate gang, especially when the corporation in question conducted massive layoffs at the start of the pandemic amid record profits.

Then Dijakovic took the mic and outdid himself in the mixed metaphors department, cutting what sounded like a parody of his previous promos. According to his sixty-second monologue, RETRIBUTION would be the judge, jury, and executioners who would drain WWE of its whores, who were not only its lifeblood but the sickness responsible for the infestation of the hellhole that RETRIBUTION would destroy and rebuild in its own image by making them pay for their sins. Got all that?

MVP had heard enough, bringing his Hurt Business faction to the ring to rumble with RETRIBUTION and their faceless hordes.

(That’s hordes, not whores. WWE Superstars were the whores, you’ll recall)

Later in the night, Dijakovic promised to “pay” the Hurt Business for their greed. “But your payment will not come in the form of money. It will come in the form of a match! Against us! And we will pay you in retribution.” Retribution? Where have I heard that word before?

The faction made their presence felt again when they roughed up some mid-carders backstage, at which point Dijakovic made this perfectly ludicrous proclamation: “WWE Superstars are a sickness, and we are the judge, the jury, and the executioners!

Go on, Your Honor. Sentence that sickness!

Undaunted by this new anti-bacterial justice system, the Hurt Business took the fight to RETRIBUTION backstage, beating up all of their mooks. But MVP and his group were in the hurt business, not the mystery-solving business, so they didn’t bother unmasking any of the invaders they had just laid out.

In the night’s main event, RETRIBUTION made their in-ring debuts in a six-man tag opposite the Hurt Business. It was during this match that the group’s men were finally identified by name – and what names they were!

WWE’s announcers couldn’t even go one match without making light of these new monikers. “T-BAR!” said Jerry Lawler. “That stands for That Boy Ain’t Right.”

The King was far from alone in not taking RETRIBUTION seriously; WWE Creative decided to have the group lose their first match via disqualification. With SLAPJACK locked in Bobby Lashley’s full nelson and all but certain to tap out, T-BAR triggered a DQ in the weakest manner possible, simply hitting Lashley while not the legal man.

Nine of RETRIBUTION’s unnamed reinforcements then arrived to deliver a 12-on-4 beatdown to the Hurt Business. “RETRIBUTION can do this,” Tom Phillips lamented. “They’re signed WWE Superstars. They can do this any time to anyone.”

Ignoring the fact that nine of these hooded assailants were not signed WWE Superstars (and were thus committing criminal trespass and assault), this new storyline development was still a head-scratcher: Instead of WWE paying security to stop RETRIBUTION from doing mob attacks, they paid RETRIBUTION to keep doing mob attacks. Because it was cheaper.

Fortunately, Drew McIntyre and six other men from the Raw locker room stormed the ring to vanquish the villains in an 11-on-12 beatdown. The melee proved to be just the distraction Randy Orton needed to sneak into the ring and hit Drew with an RKO. So at their big coming-out, RETRIBUTION ended up an afterthought. After all, Z-PAK and company weren’t even booked on that Sunday’s Clash of Champions.

Surely enough, another pay-per-view came and went, and RETRIBUTION was once again nowhere to be found. In an ironic twist, the mask-wearing faction had been forced to quarantine after possible exposure to the coronavirus, and WWE couldn’t be bothered to give anybody else ski masks and hoodies to fill in during their absence.

It was around this time that the dirt sheets learned the names of RETRIBUTION’s two women, due to trademark filings by WWE. Despite having made next to no effort to conceal their true identities, Mia Yim and Mercedes Martinez would nonetheless adopt new ring names – RECKONING and RETALIATION, respectively. I’m not saying WWE Creative simply swiped these names out of a thesaurus…

…but if they did, they had the perfect opportunity here to name a wrestler COMEUPPANCE, and they blew it.

V.

The group returned on October 5th when T-BOZ, LEFTEYE, CHILLI, and a slew of masked runts surrounded the Hurt Business and Mustafa Ali. But instead of fighting back, the gloriously-maned cruiserweight revealed himself as RETRIBUTION’s leader.

This raised a lot of important questions: Would Ali start wearing a Michael Myers mask or something? Would he get a new name? Was “ZUBAZ” still trademarked?

On October 12th, the unseen decision-makers for the Raw brand officially drafted RETRIBUTION. After all the totally outrageous mayhem caused by the group, the higher-ups at Raw not only accepted the gang of vandals and rioters, but went out of their way to prevent Smackdown from snatching them up.

Though C-SPAN and the gang had made it their stated mission to destroy WWE from within, it was clear to viewers that even in storyline, no one in WWE took this threat seriously. Why else would the Raw executives draft the group as a unit, when those same execs deliberately split up the New Day? Were trombones and unicorns a bigger existential threat than RETRIBUTION?

For reasons unexplained, WWE had the chance to break up the group but kept all six of them together. Or, I should say, all five of them; Mercedes Martinez was dropped from the group without explanation. She was never even named on television.

(Martinez is the one on the right, looking like she really didn’t want to be there)

RETRIBUTION kicked off the first post-draft Raw by surrounding The Fiend and Alexa Bliss, who stood perfectly still, then disappeared.

The supernatural confrontation was not meant to be. What was meant to be was another loss to the Hurt Business, who rushed to the ring to beat up the four wanna-be revolutionaries. This time, RETRIBUTION would receive no back-up from their trusty anonymous goons —

— between Akira Tozawa’s ninja duty…

…and Johnny Gargano’s Ghostface gigs in NXT, the once-bottomless pool of masked henchmen in black had dried up.

The Hurt Business would defeat FLAPJACK and friends with ease; the last minute and a half of action saw Bobby Lashley tear through the other team single-handedly before making T-BAR tap out.

It seemed that new leadership couldn’t turn the RETRIBUTION ship around. In fact, things were getting worse for the faction, as The Fiend re-emerged to destroy the four men single-handedly. Getting routed single-handedly, twice in one segment, wouldn’t bode well for any faction, especially one seeking to tear down the whole promotion.

VI.

Miffed, Mustafa Ali promised psychological warfare to avenge his group’s repeated ass-beatings, casually revealing that he was the Smackdown hacker.

Remember the Smackdown hacker? Throughout the spring, a cloaked figure (who sounded like Ali, but with a deeper voice) interrupted Smackdown broadcasts with cryptic messages. Before long, this hacker started affecting WWE storylines.

First, he revealed footage proving that Sonya Deville and Dolph Ziggler had conspired to ruin Otis and Mandy Rose’s romance.

Then, he didn’t do anything of note; the Mandy & Otis thing was the most important thing he ever did. WWE quietly dropped the angle in June with no payoff and moved Ali over to Raw.

But with the hacker back and aligned with RETRIBUTION, there was no telling what kind of damage they could do. Now, Ali vowed to take down WWE Superstars by revealing their terrible, most well-hidden secrets.

Bray Wyatt and the Fiend: The same person?!

He never did.

VII.

Mustafa Ali’s next order of business was to finally get RETRIBUTION onto a pay-per-view. On the Hell in a Cell Kickoff Show, Ali challenged any member of the Hurt Business to a match against any member of RETRIBUTION. The Hurt Business chose Bobby Lashley vs. SLAPJACK as the match and were so confident, they put Lashley’s US Title on the line.

Predictably, Lashley trounced SLAPJACK, making him tap out in under four minutes. Even more predictably, he was then swarmed by RETRIBUTION, whom he fended off quite well even before the rest of the Hurt Business forced their retreat.

The next night on Raw, RETRIBUTION wrestled Hurt Business in a 4-on-4 elimination match. Normally, this type of match would be reserved for Survivor Series, which was just just three weeks away, but WWE couldn’t afford to have fans assume RETRIBUTION would be wrestling on that pay-per-view. Thus, they got the match over with on literally the first night in the build to Survivor Series.

Thanks to some trickery, RETRIBUTION scored its first pinfall ever to get off to an early lead. RECKONING feigned a “fit”, maniacally scratching herself and throwing herself to the mat. This momentarily distracted MVP, allowing him to be rolled up and pinned.

The original plan had been to fake a seizure, but Mia Yim got it changed to a sort of demonic possession.

Smart move – it wouldn’t have gone over well with the viewers, many of whom surely suffered seizures themselves just watching RETRIBUTION’s entrance.

The group’s advantage was short-lived; Lashley speared SLAPJACK and pinned him. Unfortunately, Bobby then got too distracted kicking T-BAR’s ass outside the ring, resulting in a double countout.

Shelton Benjamin then pinned MACE, leaving Mustafa Ali outnumbered 2-1. Ali hit Cedric Alexander with a chair to lose the match by DQ, but ran away when the rest of the Hurt Business returned.

And that was the end of that feud.

VIII.

For their next feud, RETRIBUTION would set their sights a little lower down the card, beating up Ricochet and Tucker Knight. Ali had these cryptic, contradictory words to say to his former ally: “Your sin is forgiven until it is punished.”

Confused? Maybe you were just too lazy and stupid to understand the high art that was the RETRIBUTION storyline. In an interview on WWE After the Bell, Ali explained that most everyone in RETRIBUTION had been wronged in the past and never given a chance at payback. And sure, it’s commendable of Ali to try to rationalize a bad angle (when WWE itself had proven unwilling to do so), but the RETRIBUTION members’ backstories were clearly the result of inconsistent booking, not long-term storytelling. Dropped angles, fractured feuds, and lazy TV write-offs are so rampant in WWE that almost anyone on the roster could have been a member of RETRIBUTION and made at least as much sense as the ones we got.

To further ram home the sophistication and subtlety of RETRIBUTION, Ali posted a promo on Twitter retconning the group’s entire image. Ali gave his followers knockoff movie masks and names like ZUBAT and SLOWBRO not because they were cool, but because they were uncool. Only then could the members of RETRIBUTION understand what it was like to be judged, as Mustafa Ali had been for his entire life, based on how they looked and how they were named.

Hear that? All of you people on the Internet making fun of RETRIBUTION’s masks and names were marks! You said they looked and sounded stupid? Well, guess what, bucko? They were stupid on purpose! (This retcon does imply, however, that anybody who had defended the faction’s masks and names had also gotten played)

True, the group leader’s real name was very obviously Adeel Alam, not Mustafa Ali, but point taken. Still, there’s a big difference between xenophobia on the one hand, and mockery over ridiculous English-language names on the other. If WWE really had a coherent vision for this group, they wouldn’t have enlisted Mustafa Ali; they would have enlisted Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck.

November 9th was a milestone for RETRIBUTION: for the first time ever, one of them won a match, as Ali made Ricochet pass out to his submission finisher.

The next week, RETRIBUTION scored their second and biggest victory ever when, in a one-fall match, they took on four members of the Raw men’s Survivor Series team. That one fall occurred when the Raw guys argued with each other, allowing Ali to roll up Matt Riddle for a fluke pin. But instead of capitalizing on this surprising turn of events, WWE left RETRIBUTION off that Sunday’s Survivor Series and the next episode of Raw.

IX.

On November 17th, RETRIBUTION took over WWE’s Twitter account. Over the next few hours, they posted threats, grievances, and Taylor Hanson.

Most importantly for the storyline, RETRIBUTION posted a series of Twitter “fleets”, which finally explained what exactly they were seeking retribution for.

MACE, formerly known as Dio Maddin, had never been allowed to wrestle on TV. Though he did appear on commentary, he lost his spot after being destroyed by Brock Lesnar.

Not mentioned: his appearance on the first Raw Underground, which debuted the same night as RETRIBUTION. Though absent from that night’s arson, Dio did set the tone for the group when he got his ass kicked by the Hurt Business.

T-BAR, the former Dominic Dijakovic, had been betrayed by Triple H and best friend Keith Lee when Lee was called up to Raw without him. When was that call-up? August 24th, weeks after RETRIBUTION’s inception.

SLAPJACK, aka Shane Thorne, had been directionless in NXT. I hate to break it to SLAPJACK, but if he thought his booking in NXT was bad, why did he think he’d fare any better on Raw, of all shows?

RECKONING, formerly Mia Yim, joined RETRIBUTION after the fans turned their backs on her… somehow. Well, they certainly stopped showing up to her matches around March 2020. Why this would motivate her to carry out attacks on Raw talent, including her boyfriend Keith Lee, was unclear.

Ryan Satin urged WWE to air these videos on TV, which they of course did not, likely because they didn’t make a heck of a lot sense.

But RETRIBUTION did get to explain themselves in person – not at Survivor Series or the next night’s Raw, where they weren’t booked – but on an episode of Main Event. That’s WWE Main Event, streamed exclusively on Hulu Live the night before Thanksgiving, meaning almost every Raw viewer missed it.

An omen if there ever was one, The Gobbledy Gooker interrupted the group’s tell-all promo.

Two days later was Black Friday, the start of Christmas shopping in the United States. On WWE Shop, fans could buy official RETRIBUTION merchandise to help, in their words, “fund the movement”. Yet only a small percentage of the money made from sales would actually go to the RETRIBUTION members; the rest would go to WWE, which, as I understand, was the organization they were supposed to be destroying from within.

But what else was RETRIBUTION to do to earn money? Stream on Twitch? Run an OnlyFans? No, WWE would tolerate arson and felonious assault, but they drew the line at independent sources of income.

X.

Over the next month, RETRIBUTION would go on a veritable winning streak:

SLAPJACK beat Ricochet. MACE beat Ricochet. T-BAR beat Ricochet. Ali beat Ricochet (again).

If there was one thing RETRIBUTION had proven, it was that they were no “jobber faction”. Sure, they often got the “jobber” entrance by coming to the ring during commercial breaks, but they could win every match…

…as long as they only ever wrestled one person…

…and as long as that one person wasn’t Dana Brooke.

See, RECKONING’s first, and to date, only feud was with Brooke, whom she targeted backstage. When the two finally squared off in the ring, RECKONING’s mask fell off within seconds. Worse still, the wrestlers and the announcers ignored this error and carried on as if they either didn’t notice or didn’t care that a member of RETRIBUTION had been unmasked.

Although RECKONING and the rest of RETRIBUTION’s identities were no secret to NXT viewers and Twitter users, the Raw commentators’ failure to recognize her sent a message loud and clear to the casual viewer: RETRIBUTION is a group of masked nobodies. Even if we told you who they were, you wouldn’t care.

Dane Brooke pinned Mia Yim with a roll-up after two minutes and fifteen seconds of action. Afterwards, Ali scolded Yim, declaring without a hint of irony, “There is no failure in RETRIBUTION!”

The next week, RECKONING fared even worse. Teaming with SLAPJACK, she faced Ricochet and Dana Brooke in a mixed tag match that somehow ended ever sooner than the previous match. After hitting one move, Brooke gave RECKONING her second consecutive loss.

XI.

It is now 2021. RETRIBUTION splits its time between Main Event (WWE’s D-show) and Raw, which has plunged to all-time low ratings during the group’s tenure. RETRIBUTION doesn’t deserve all the blame for that, but if their goal truly is to destroy WWE, they’ve made a hell of an effort so far.

It’s only fitting that WrestleCrap’s readers would reward that effort with the 2020 Gooker Award.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
55 Responses to "Induction: RETRIBUTION – The 2020 Gooker Award winner"
  1. Lee W. says:

    Thanks to this induction I’m assuming a new name on this site, going forward I’ll be known as Dog Hands.

  2. WP says:

    I think the real winner is Mercedes Martinez for dropping out of this angle when she had the chance.

  3. bob sacklund says:

    thought they really dropped the ball not having them in the royal rumble ( rumored to be covid ) i think eventually they will just fade away and maybe mustafa ali will get a big push

  4. #OPC says:

    Looking at that thesaurus list, maybe they would have faired better had they got some help from Sid Justice.

  5. Jim says:

    Looks like my name is “Bang Bone.”

    Ladies, the line starts at the left.

  6. Jerry says:

    Weakest group since the Social Outcasts, and not nearly as entertaining (at least intentionally). In the beginning I suspected, that they were portraied as a lame joke to send a message, but awful writing quality is far more likely.
    Whose mindset is it, that people, who are unable to beat others on their own will suddenly be perceived as stronger, if they can’t beat others while having a stable around to cheat for them?

    A Gooker just like a Gooker should be – funny and sad at the same time.

  7. Garrett Edward Spears says:

    RETRIBUTION won the 2020 Gooker Award? THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!!!!! RETRIBUTION IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS TO HAVE HAPPENED NOT JUST IN THE WWE IN 2020, BUT IN WRESTLING HISTORY!!!!!

  8. Garrett Edward Spears says:

    As a matter of fact, Raw underground deserved the 2020 Gooker award NOT RETRIBUTION!!!!!!!

  9. Alucard says:

    Nexus looks like NWO compared to Retribution. These chumps have set a really low t-bar for all future invasion story-lines to surpass.

  10. BS says:

    Man, a member of the Zaibatsu deserves better than this!

  11. Andy says:

    They missed an excellent opportunity to reveal “Retribution” to be some of the people who had been furloughed after the Pandemic first started affecting the shows.

    Instead, it’s a parody of an ‘invasion’. A group of people, all under 5ft8 invaded an empty Performance Center.

    And surely SOMEBODY in WWE realized how stupid it was when they were made part of the WWE Draft?

    Or is this all some experiment on WWE’s part to see just how bad the show ahs to become before diehard viewers finally stop watching?

    What’s funny is that this Invasion makes the old TNA “Aces & Eights” storyline look very professionally executed by comparison.

  12. Mav says:

    WWE, tone-deaf as ever.

    Is the Messenger the Black Scorpion?

  13. The Doctor of Style says:

    Sorry I couldn’t finish reading, Art, but I commend you for your tenacious research!

    Sounds like this angle suffered from having incoherent satire. Maybe these would’ve helped it be more true-to-life…

    Real life:
    Protesters face police in riot gear
    WWE:
    Protesters face Bull Buchanan in riot gear

    Real life:
    Rioters tear down statues
    WWE:
    Rioters tear down WWE Hall of Fame statues

    Real life:
    Rioters set fire to a Portland courthouse
    WWE:
    Rioters set fire to Lawler’s “King’s Court” segment

  14. john Gianno says:

    In the intro, you forgot to mention the numerous shooting of cops by African Americans and the looting by BLM. The fact that most of the officers were acting in self defense s a minor detail I suppose. Your irresponsible commentary just aims to turn brother against brother, if you actually give a damn.

    • Sentok says:

      No, his intro is a fair assessment of the situation.

      I fail to see how killing unarmed people, some of them while they were sleeping, is in ‘self defense’
      White people killed many more police than black people this year, just like every year. This includes the officer killed during the insurrection.

      I’m assuming you know these things, and are only bringing up this in the comments section of a satirical article on wrestling faction because you aren’t welcome anywhere else. Well, you arent welcome here either, friend.

    • C Boz says:

      Is your Retribution name “Missed Point”?

    • Don R Townsend says:

      Look up Breonna Taylor and tell me the cops were acting in self defense. A no knock raid based on a warrant obtained using false information where the cops never identified themselves.

      Taylor’s boyfriend grabbed his handgun in SELF DEFENSE against unknown intruders and fired setting off events i which cops were shooting from OUTSIDE the apartment without being able to see inside. Taylor was struck and later died.

      Due in large part to police and EMTS not administering any medical attention until it was too late. Remember the false information used to obtain the warrant? Yeah. So they went to the judge and said Taylor was running a drug operation from her home along with “her boyfriend”.

      Come to find out, they guy they suspected had been out of the picture for months and there were NO DRUGS found anywhere. The guy they were actually after was arrested at some point before or after this happened but when asked he said Taylor had no involvement in what he was doing.

      This story exposed all kinds of hypocrisy to your narrative and to the narrative that racism isnt an issue. The cops bungled the entire operation from jump. At best their information was sorely out of date as they didnt even know who was actually staying there by months. At worst they lied to get the warrant.

      Then failing to identify themselves which adds up because why would her boyfriend think it was random intruders and why would he fire on cops when they were doing nothing wrong? No drugs. No illegal activities. They also broke their own policy of firing blindly into the apartment.

      And yet despite all of this, Taylors boyfriend was painted as the bad guy. You know in the country where gun nuts have wet dreams of getting to shoot trespassers and carry ARs to Wal-Mart and all about the 2nd amendment. Taylors boyfriend actually had a good reason but he’s black so that’s bad.

      Charges against him were dropped because DUH! But at the same time none of the cops faced any real consequences from the death of Taylor. A couple might have been fired. Thats it. And thats just one example of several high profile cases where the cops messed up but never get punished. Even when they’re not a cop like George Zimmerman they walk scot free.

      So you can imagine theres only so many ways to stand up to this. One was peaceful protests like kneeling during the anthem and they were slammed for that. The other was BLM rallies and protests in which they were called terrorists and pro-Trump groups showed up to escalate things. So as they’re ignored and made to be the villains even as this crap continues it leaves little recourse but to fight fire with fire.

      I dont condone shooting innocent cops but what else can they do to get people to understand? This problem isnt going to just go away. It has to be addressed and dealt with. This is what kills me about the hypocrisy from people like you. You tell BLM and anyone who watches this stuff unfold to just shut up and be grateful and do what they’re told but then you want to make heroes out of people who stormed the Capitol because they want to believe the election was stolen cuz their guy didnt win. Again it’s hard not to notice a huge disparity in the racial department.

      Mostly black looters breaking windows in stores is intolerable but all white rioters looking to hang “traitors” is patriotic.

  15. Larry says:

    If I had been born a couple weeks later, my Retribution name would’ve been “Dog Dog”.

    By the way, was it intentional that you called him “Flapjack” in one of the lines? That name does sound more like something you order at IHOP.

  16. C. Peter Roberts says:

    Worth noting that, according to that “What’s Your Retribution name?” meme and the information on Ali/Alam’s Twitter, his real Retribution name should be A-Swipe.

  17. Jonathon says:

    My Retribution name is BANG-SWIPE, which I am all but tripping over myself to rush to match.com and change my profile name to.

  18. MerelyAFan says:

    Retribution is like the Voltron of bad WWE angles.

    It takes the awkward attempts at previous political references, the lousy booking seen with groups like the Nexus, the excessively produced corporate presentation of contemporary Raw, the dubious repackaging of talents from NXT, the unbearably drawn out storytelling seen with the Authority, and the same current tell don’t show illustration of characters that produced the “he’s just having fun out there” commentary meme. All of that put together the create a group that makes the NWA Invasion from 1998 seem like a well crafted masterpiece.

    In an odd way, this whole thing has been incredibly useful as an example of every bad booking philosophy in vogue right now, down to saddling a genuinely talented performer like Ali with the weight of it. Some angles are rockets that shoot for the stars and fall short; Retribution is the rocket catching fire before takeoff and continuing to explode for hours on end.

    • Don R Townsend says:

      The concept of Retribution is not a bad idea. Wrestlers who have been overlooked or gotten the shaft uniting to weak havoc and rage against the machine. There’s dozens of guys and gals on the roster who actually fit that description.

      But right out of the gate, when you know who’s in the group they have no business acting like they’ve been held back. THIS was their call up. And the way it was initially being hyped they were getting more buzz than most people. So how the whole thing is ridiculous BEFORE all the dumb stuff started happening.

      Even if everybody executed their jobs to perfection from creative to booking to the performers, they would have still come off as self entitled newcomers. They got absolutely nothing right about this entire thing.

  19. Chris the Bambikiller says:

    Speaking of missed opportunities, why didn’t they make the flapjack Slapjack’s finisher?

    Or maybe they did. We’ll never know.

  20. Randy Cotton says:

    I have a feeling that we’ll see Part 2 of this induction whenever Retribution finally ends. Wonder what juicy stuff the members and the people involved in this mess will reveal on those wrestling shoot interviews.

  21. Rob says:

    This is just one of those hilarious failure factions where the main thing a person can take from it is pure pity for Mustafa Ali (legit talented wrestler who never seems to catch breaks because he’s small), Dijakovic (legit talented wrestler with size who went from near-weekly great matches with Keith Lee on NXT to this with the only benefit being his “no sir, I’m totally not completely mocking this stuff” social media presence) and Yim (talented enough to at least be a viable mid-card female performer).

    A whole bunch of generic “random guys break stuff” skits that reminded me of Aces and Eights before Bully Ray got involved to at least give them a bit of credibility. Underwhelming in-ring debuts where you got the impression that their only advantage was the ability to have as many masked guys as necessary. Ali gets named as the leader to give us the brief hope that this is going to finally be his push and, by proxy, the group might be salvaged…but no, Ali gets treated like Ali always has been treated and the faction is stuck being lower-card guys who only can win on Main Event or against other lower-card guys.

    However, the biggest loser in all of this is….RICOCHET.

    Super-talented guy who was stuck in the Faction To Job To The Hurt Business, along with Apollo Crews, Ali and Cedric Alexander. When Cedric changed sides, he gave Ricochet the option to follow him or get his butt kicked constantly. He refused and eventually won a “lose and I’ll cave in; win and you get out of my face” match. As a reward for not being in the hot mid-card heel faction at the time, he got relegated to Main Event status, putting on solid matches on a weekly basis that were likely only watched by internet wrestling review-writers.

    But then! Ali comes up to him and gives him the same offer: Join us or suffer. And Ricochet bravely/stupidly refuses again. Which means he’s in another endless series of short matches where he loses by interference.

    At least Retribution has an angle, even if it’s total garbage and doesn’t make sense most/all of the time. Ricochet’s angle is that he refuses to get into these angles and, as a result, is either getting beaten up or stuck on the low-level show. But it is a great lesson for young, impressionable viewers: Don’t fall to peer pressure and be your own person…even if that means you’ll never get anywhere and spend eternity spinning your wheels in lower-card purgatory.

    • Arcane Azmadi says:

      Yeah, the complete and utter burial of Ricochet could be a secondary gooker all on its own. Seriously, Ricochet’s talent is unreal. Anyone who watched Lucha Underground could corroborate that based on his run in the first 3 seasons as Prince Puma, and his run on NXT backed that up. His physical ability is up there in the top 5, maybe in the top 3 in the world, with the likes of Rey Fenix and Will Osprey.

      But he got dragged down to the main roster and intentionally and maliciously BURIED in every way they could come up with. Making him the only jobber a lame group like Retribution could beat was basically a public announcement “this guy is the biggest loser we have”. The only reason they didn’t make him act really annoying so they could turn him heel (like they did with Sami Zayn, one of the most likeable men in the world) was because they didn’t care enough about him.

      And then you get stupid WWE shills defending the company’s heinous waste of one of the top talents on the roster with the “flawless” argument that “he’s crap on the mic, therefore he’s worthless and good for nothing but jobbing”. Firstly, while he’s no Jake Roberts or Daniel Bryan, he’s not CRAP on the mic, WWE have pushed guys who’ve been far worse than him in the past (Psycho Sid anyone?) and people drastically exaggerate how bad he is, ignoring the fact that WWE’s scripted promos tend to make all but the best guys sound bad, particularly when they don’t even care about the guy anyway. And secondly, if you can’t reason any better than “he can’t talk, therefore he’s a bad WRESTLER”, then you’re an idiot.

      It breaks my heart that Ricochet is apparently continuing with the company that has treated him so deliberately badly, apparently just because the money is good. Jon Moxley turned down a MASSIVE contract because his self-respect was worth more to him than money and became one of the biggest wrestling stars in the world. Trevor Mann is apparently just willing to sit back and collect a check in exchange for being publically humiliated for the best years of his career- including jobbing to Mustafa Ali’s collection of masked dorks. It’s a tragedy.

      • Guest says:

        It’s funny that some of these same people praise WWE for how they booked Brock Lesnr (who also sucks at promos) despite his matches largely being boringly similar.

        And yet Ricochet is the guy who deserves being buried and ignored including by people like Lesnar.

      • K7 says:

        Moxley turned down a massive contract as he was essentially given a major stake in AEW, without being subjected to the Z-pak for everything medical team.

  22. Hulk6785 says:

    My Retribution name is BANGBAT. Better than any of the real Retribution names.

  23. Raymc99 says:

    Justice for better Woolie

  24. PuppyLove says:

    Dork Order? I love it LOL

  25. Alexi says:

    Yeah having a group with stupid names based off wannabe rioting communists and a Marxist cult made zero sense. WWE , in story line, hiring them made even less sense

  26. Don R Townsend says:

    few things here…..first off wow. I knew it was bad but seeing it laid out all at once made me realize its worse than I thought. I don’t think they could have made it worse if they tried.

    Secondly, the more I think about it….the more I think Retribution was created as a peace offering to Lashley after the never ending debacle with Rusev and Lana which was a strong gooker contender itself.
    I kept wondering why the Hurt Business of all people would be the saviors when they themselves were heels and somewhat on the jobber side of things.

    It very well could have been just so Lashley could look like Superman although it’s WWE…….this was their version of BLM vs Antifa. Then WWE did the same thing with Retribution by giving them Ricochet. Now…..it’s not quite the same thing. Retribution was getting their asses handed to them by one big man and it seemingly took all 4 of them to take out a much smaller Ricochet. They may have meant to make them look strong and get them some W’s but it really makes them look just as bad.

    And that begs the question, who the hell did Ricochet piss off? Also, keep your eye on Ali. This may not be the last time we see him winning this thing. I got a sneaking suspicion Vince has an Aladdin gimmick lined up for him when this Retribution gig ends. It will likely just be the recycled Revival gimmick they laughed off but I could see Ali trying to make it work.

    Having said that, I know it’s fun to point and giggle at this flaming pile of horse crap but let’s take a moment to recognize how awful it must be for the guys and girl under the masks who have essentially been ruined right out of the gate. I would think it’s a bad sign when wrestlers were happy to be dropped from the group and get “demoted” back to NXT.

    And finally…..my Retribution name is what I needed to see today. Rough Shot. And it’s still not as dumb as T-Bar or laughable as Slapjack. This was a great induction. Thank You

    • Dave says:

      Hey, my Retribution name is Rough Shot too! Now, as per WWE rules, we have to have a match to determine the one true Rough Shot! “There can be only ONE!”

      • Don R Townsend says:

        Or we just form a tag team called the Rough Shots. Rough Shot #1 and #2. Thats about the right amount of WWE effort put into it.

  27. Gerard says:

    i get what wwe was trying to do copy nwo or aces&8s with their own group of renegade outlaws who play by their own rules!! the problem with this is its wwe and everything wwe tries to do anymore just turns to welll…CRAP!! seeing even now on twitter the fans have started calling the character T-Bar T-Bag!!

  28. Brian Alfrey says:

    I feel bad for all the talent involved because WWE never took it seriously.
    If they wanted to do something different it should’ve been more thought out and
    more creative in the ring and on commentary. Storylines like this started with the 2001
    Invasion and just continued. Proves WWE has lost what can build stars. It’s sad.

  29. Victor says:

    Missed opportunity was not having Stevie Ray manage Slapjack.

    Funny story, Slapjack has been my PSN name since the PS3 lol.

  30. Michael Sypher says:

    STORMBOLT, well that’s actually a halfway passable City of Heroes name tbh.

  31. Rob Hill says:

    “Dork Order” popped me. That was excellent.

    Yours sincerely,
    Fire Dog

  32. Doc 902714 says:

    My RETRIBUTION name comes straight from Mortal Kombat; DEATH BLADE

  33. CF says:

    Great Cthulhu — this angle was so bad, I’m surprised WWE didn’t hire Eric Young to join it.

  34. Kalle says:

    You’ve got it wrong on one point — Angel Garza ruined his chances with Demi Burnett AND Charly Caruso! CURSE YOU RETRIBUTION.

  35. Thun Fish says:

    Ali deserves a fucking medal for trying to get something out of this mess and so does Ricochet for having to put up with this bullcrap and the regular jobbing. And I guess the rest of the stable does deserve some sort of recognition for at least trying to do anything, Lord knows the fed just abandoned them with a dud and never bothered to look back.

    Honestly, it’s one of those things that clearly should’ve stayed at the drawing board: a miswritten and repetitive faction born out of what’s likely a case of political cronyism and bad faith that was bound to only create joy in losing with almost nobody but a fringe section of society, some of which does happen to interlace with the wrestling fandom but it’s still far from enough of a majority to have some relevance. If it was meant to insult the movement they were perhaps trying to parody, it failed hard, thanks to the sheer lack of relevance WWE’s current product has if it’s not called NXT.

    Hell, if it wasn’t for the Gooker, I’d be having a hard time even remembering the name of the faction. I could swear it was called Revolution or something.

    Loved the induction though, great as always!

    Signed, Storm Swipe.

    P.S. – Doubt the Revolution would be a good Jet Set Radio gang given the state of their graffiti work. Couldn’t even be bothered to do a small tag, fucking shit.

  36. Owl says:

    Good god! This angle was even worse than I remembered. I haven’t watched a full episode of Raw in a long time so I had no clue that Retribution’s idea of anarchy and mayhem involved barricading a guy while he’s on the crapper and spray painting the air.

  37. Bang Frost says:

    Well, since Primo is no longer with WWE there has to be SOMEONE to play the eternal goober role.

  38. Evan Waters says:

    TRICK DOG

  39. Mondo says:

    Please give these JOB Squad 2.0 goons the Gooker award for the next 5 years in advance.

    Their one time invasion on SmackDown where there were trainees and rookies in the audience just before Thunder Dome was introduced, they attacked the audience and went through the motions of ass raping a female rookie. How sick is that??

    They beat the crap out of Tucker because he turned on his partner. They said they are judge jury and executioners. Wrong! That doesn’t exist without justice and fairness.

    MUSTafa Scowli and his goons with the stupid names are the latest graduates of Wrestling Heel 101, expertise on the scowling and snarling and making empty threats to the audience and others.

    They don’t have heal heat, they’ve got Get Lost and Go Away Forever Heat.

    Notice the barrage of backup of 20 masked goons in 5 ¢ thug gear are not around anymore. I’m betting that they would have been revealed to be former roster guys that were relegated to 205 or the show no one ever talks about, “Main Event”

    Reckoning or Lady with severe Underwear Itchies has been mentioned but not seen for a bit.

    Slapnut with the pieplate “;Jason” hockeyish mask and TBarf and Mace Face with their Predator and Bane copycat masks (which is which I don’t care).

    I read that one of them was briefly a commentator that was cut short after he got the living snot kicked out of him by Brick Lesnar. Yes that’s an injustice I’ll agree. When do they expect to get even with Lesnar? Hmmmm?

    They talk tough and they’ve won a couple of matches here and there but underneath it all NO ONE will now or ever take them seriously. Even the Hurt Business, another heel group of goons didn’t take them seriously and only had a handful of matches before quickly moving in.

    Admitting you’re a hacker and bragging that you’re going to potentially do it again…not very smart. Just bragging because you’re a joke!

    Five years from now, 10 years, 20 years from now, these losers are going to be nothing but a footnote! Their entry in wrestling history books won’t even take up half a page.

  40. Ze Frenchie says:

    Is this how Sonny Fargo got his nickname?

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