4 Steps to Fix Failing Retribution Storyline on WWE Raw
A lot of stables have come and gone over the years in WWE. We've seen the highest of highs with D-Generation X and Evolution, the middle of the pack like Right to Censor and The Ministry and the lowest of lows with Disciples of Apocalypse and Los Boricuas.
One of the newest groups to come along is Retribution. The faction is led by Mustafa Ali and includes Mia Yim under the name Reckoning, Dio Madden as Mace, Shane Thorne as Slapjack and Dominik Dijakovic as T-Bar.
The group began by causing mayhem around the Capitol Wrestling Center. They trashed equipment and beat up security guards and wrestlers.
Unfortunately, this stable has been both poorly received by fans and badly booked. If WWE doesn't make some major changes soon, Retribution will become one of those jokes wrestling fans talk about like The Gobbledy Gooker or Robocop saving Sting.
Let's take a look at some of the ways WWE can improve this storyline and help everyone in the stable.
Win Some Matches
Retribution has caused some property damage and beaten up some people, but when it comes to wins and losses, the group is off to a horrible start.
Almost every single match involving someone from Retribution has ended in them losing, which is the opposite of what WWE should be doing if it wants this group to be successful. Their whole image is built on trying to scare people, but if they never pick up a W, nobody has any reason to believe they are a serious threat.
One easy remedy to this problem is to simply book more wins for the group. Some squash matches over jobbers and stars who are lower on the card would give them a little momentum before they take on The Hurt Business again.
This is simple logic. The more wins Retribution can rack up, the more dangerous they will be to anyone holding a title.
Make the Group Less Overtly Heel
Retribution has been booked as a heel group since the start, or at least that is what WWE wants it to be. If we look at things from both sides, it's more of a gray area.
Whenever WWE has done a feud between the corporation and a Superstar like Kevin Owens or a group like DX, those wrestlers were always the heroes being cheered against the evil conglomerate.
Are we supposed to look at WWE management as the good guy in all of this? Are we supposed to root for the same people we booed when they were feuding with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin or The Rock? How does that make sense?
If Retribution is supposed to be working against a tyrannical force, it needs to be positioned as a group of underdog heroes, not vigilante rabble-rousers. Ali is literally talking about taking people who have been underused and ignored by the company and giving them chances. Where is the evil in that motivation?
No matter how much charity work the company does or how many great matches it produces, WWE is still the evil corporate overlord of the wrestling industry, and it needs to be presented as such. Otherwise, none of this makes any sense.
Giving Ali and his allies a more nuanced motivation and portraying them as people we can root for would go a long way toward changing how the WWE Universe sees them.
Ditch the Masks
Masks are a huge part of pro wrestling history and culture. We have the entire lucha libre heritage in addition to legends from all over the world using masks to enhance their characters.
Kane, Mick Foley, Rey Mysterio, Ultimo Dragon, Jushin Thunder Liger and La Parka are just a few of the Superstars who have made their masks an iconic part of their characters.
Everyone in Retribution except Ali wears a mask, but theirs look more like something you would see at a bad Mad Max convention than in a wrestling ring.
It's great that WWE tried to do something different. We need every promotion to try new things to keep the business fresh. This was just a miss.
If Ali wants to take these underutilized talents to the next level, why is he hiding their faces? Let these wrestlers show their faces, emote and sell their promos with facial expressions. They would be instantly more entertaining. At this point, even the ski masks they were wearing at first would be a better option than what they have right now.
Add at Least 1 More Woman
When Retribution was first introduced, Mercedes Martinez was part of the group. For some reason, she was quietly removed and returned to NXT.
Yim is an outstanding talent who can add so much to the women's division in WWE, but she is sitting on the sidelines while her teammates lose to The Hurt Business every week.
Adding one more woman to the group would allow her and Yim to pursue the Women's Tag Team Championship. If Retribution wants to win some gold, those titles would be a more realistic target than the Raw women's title.
It would also give Yim more to do than just stand at ringside. If the group had at least two women, WWE would be more inclined to book a second feud for Retribution.
WWE has a lot of work to do to turn around this storyline, but if it does the things mentioned here and puts more effort into the group, it could turn into one of the most popular stables in WWE today.