Predicting 8 Possible Members for WWE's Newest Retribution Faction
Retribution has arrived in WWE, and as of now, nothing is for certain as to who could be involved with the group responsible for the recent chaos caused on SmackDown and Raw.
The anarchist stable debuted on the August 3 edition of Raw when its masked members were shown setting a generator on fire outside of the Performance Center. They stepped it up on SmackDown when they annihilated everyone and everything in sight at the end of the evening, including cutting the ring ropes with a chainsaw.
Although they didn't do as much damage on Monday's Raw, speculation has been running rampant among fans all week regarding who could be behind the chaos. It's worth noting that whoever is under the masks at the moment may not ultimately be a part of it, meaning their physical attributes aren't much to go off of.
That said, there are a handful of wrestlers from Raw, SmackDown and NXT who would have good reason to rebel against the company. A lack of television time, creative direction or a simple desire to wreak havoc could all be factors for why certain competitors would want to join Retribution's ranks.
It's entirely possible WWE drops the angle before it can be properly paid off (see: The Hacker), but for the sake of consistency, it should be given a chance to play itself out even if ratings don't drastically improve with them around.
From Superstars who haven't been seen in some time to those who have something to prove, these eight talents have the best chance of being revealed as members of Retribution.
At first glance, Dominik Dijakovic's Twitter page appears to indicate he knows something the WWE Universe doesn't—and all signs point to it having to do with Retribution.
The "Pull the Strings" text in his blacked-out profile picture reads like it could be related to the group. Additionally, there aren't any recent "likes" on his Twitter except for tweets having to do with the stable, meaning he isn't even trying to hide his apparent affiliation with them at this point.
Dijakovic could be trolling the fans, the same way he did a few months ago when it was initially rumored he was getting called up to the main roster, but it does feel like it's time for him to make the move. His defeat to Karrion Kross in July was so decisive that it would be odd for him to return, especially since he's already lost to mostly everyone on the black-and-gold brand.
No one involved in the angle with Retribution on the August 7 edition of SmackDown fits his physical description, but he could be added in later on and serve as the stable's "heavy" of sorts.
If he were to fly solo on Raw or SmackDown, it's unknown if WWE would give him the grand debut he deserves. But with Retribution, he'd be established as a dominant force from the get-go.
Sami Zayn was quite the outspoken Superstar before taking a leave of absence earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. While he has yet to give an update on when fans can expect to see him back in the ring, it wouldn't be a stretch to see him revealed as one of the masterminds behind Retribution.
After all, Zayn prided himself on being The Great Liberator during his run as intercontinental champion, and it would be completely characteristic of him to fight back against the system.
Speaking of his intercontinental title reign, it was cut short due to his decision to take time off from WWE indefinitely during the pandemic. The company wasted no time in crowning a new champion, so surely he'll be looking to get that belt back upon his return and won't be too happy about how the situation was handled (in kayfabe, of course).
This is entirely dependent on if and when he'll choose to come back. Then again, it could be revealed that he was pulling the strings all along from home and that he wasn't actually among those wreaking havoc.
Zayn returning as a head honcho in Retribution would be a far better use of him than putting him right back alongside Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro, who are already doing well as the SmackDown tag team champions and don't need his guidance anymore.
As the mouthpiece for Retribution, Zayn would be a fantastic fit.
Following Mustafa Ali's hot return to Raw three weeks ago, WWE has already proved it doesn't know what to do with the uber-talented Superstar.
He went from winning a six-man tag team match the night of his comeback to losing to Riddick Moss last week on Main Event. That essentially sent the message that the company has no plans to push him in the foreseeable future, which begs the question of why they bothered to bring him back from his hiatus in the first place.
Just over one year ago, it appeared Ali was going to be positioned as a man of the people based on vignettes that were airing for him at the time. Unfortunately, nothing came of the gimmick, and he got lost in the shuffle soon after.
Granted, being a part of Retribution would involve him creating chaos instead of stopping it, but it'd surely be different to see him as a heel for a change. He's a natural babyface, but it's worth a shot if it means getting him back on TV in a regular role.
Ali was also long rumored to be SmackDown's Hacker until the storyline was abruptly dropped. Making him the leader of Retribution and tying it into his time spent as The Hacker would be the perfect payoff to both storylines.
Vanessa Borne won't be a name many fans recognize, but she's been around a lot longer than some may realize.
She has been with NXT since 2016 but hasn't had much of a recurring role on the show in that time. Aside from competing in the inaugural Mae Young Classic and forming a partnership with Aliyah last year, she hasn't done a ton of note on the black-and-gold brand.
That said, she has improved considerably over the years and deserves more chances to shine. Her last televised match came on the January 15 edition of NXT when she was defeated in a Battle Royal, and there has been no explanation as to why she's been inactive since then.
If WWE plans to have a female member or two in Retribution, Borne would be as good as anyone for the role. She may well have been under the mask last Friday on SmackDown anyway based on the hair of one of the women who attacked Jessi Kamea, so she shouldn't be a placeholder.
Borne wouldn't have to be one of the major members of the group, but for the females, she makes as much sense as anyone. She's a much better choice than Chelsea Green, who wouldn't fit the vibe of Retribution whatsoever.
The Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake and Jaxson Ryker)
It's ironic that The Forgotten Sons have already been forgotten by the masses despite debuting on SmackDown just over four months ago.
The trio made an immediate impact on the blue brand with wins over The Lucha House Party and The New Day before disappearing from Friday nights in late May. It was widely assumed Jaxson Ryker's ill-timed tweet and the backlash it received were what led to them being taken off TV indefinitely.
Although it was never explained why Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake couldn't have continued competing without Ryker in their corner, the fact of the matter is that they weren't lighting the world on fire to begin with.
Their act is one-dimensional and their matches aren't exciting enough to make up for their lack of charisma. That's exactly why joining a faction such as Retribution would suit them well.
These three have a ton to be angry about from a storyline standpoint, but being overlooked these past few months would seem to lead their list of reasons for being fed up.
Taking their frustration back out on the company in the form of the ruthless Retribution attacks we've been seeing on SmackDown and Raw would be right up their alley.
Even with TakeOver XXX fast approaching, Tommaso Ciampa hasn't been seen on NXT TV since his one-sided loss to Karrion Kross at Takeover: In Your House in June. He basically took his ball and went home without making it clear what the future held for him.
The Blackheart has gone so far as to say in the past that he would retire if he was forced to move to the main roster. Then again, he could have changed his mind in the past eight months about wanting to expand his horizons and not limit himself to NXT, so a spot for him in Retribution shouldn't be counted out.
He's been a popular babyface since returning to the ring late last year, but being revealed as the heel leader of the faction would be incredibly intriguing. He's no stranger to bedlam and would likely love nothing more than to send a message to the main roster by ruining the Raw and SmackDown broadcasts.
That would also explain why NXT has been excluded from the attacks.
Ciampa is too talented to be sidelined for much longer. Although Retribution has a chance of backfiring and accomplishing nothing, he'd be the perfect person to lead the charge and give it instant credibility.
If not, it's unbelievable that he'd be out of action for over two months (without being injured) and not be brought back for something major such as this storyline.
Ciampa wouldn't have to join Raw or SmackDown on a full-time basis once this angle runs its course, but it would create some exciting possibilities for people he can face from both brands in the meantime.