In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda WrestleBinge, Mustafa Ali opened up about his perspective on the ill-fated RETRIBUTION stable, shedding light on its origins, challenges, and the missing piece that prevented its success from materializing.
“The fatal thing about it was it never had a ‘why?'” Ali stated candidly, reflecting on the core issue that hindered RETRIBUTION’s momentum. Despite his best efforts to provide explanations through online promos, Ali disclosed that he wasn’t the mastermind behind the concept or the names associated with the group. He clarified, “I was just kind of given this thing, but at the end of the day, it was an opportunity” [source: Sportskeeda WrestleBinge].
RETRIBUTION, composed of masked Superstars who were already part of the WWE roster under different identities, saw Ali revealed as the leader. The stable featured T-Bar (Dominik Dijakovic), Mace (Dio Maddin), Slapjack (Shane Thorne), Reckoning (Mia Yim), and Retaliation (Mercedes Martinez, who later requested her release and returned to NXT).
Ali elaborated on his attempts to infuse deeper creative meaning into the group, explaining how he devised reasons for the names and their unity. However, the problem arose when these explanations failed to make it to television, denying the viewers the understanding of the group’s purpose. Despite the broad reach of social media, Ali emphasized the significance of live TV, which garners the most attention. He stated, “So we were just kind of, I don’t wanna say a victim, but it was just the placement on the card. Things took priority, and ultimately, I think because the people that put it together, they didn’t have the real ‘why’ initially, that’s why it kind of just fell through the cracks” [source: Sportskeeda WrestleBinge].
Ali expressed his unwavering commitment to RETRIBUTION, acknowledging the opportunity it provided to showcase his promo skills and leadership abilities. While acknowledging the criticism surrounding the group’s frequent losses, he emphasized that if the losses had a purpose and contributed to a larger narrative, they wouldn’t have been detrimental. Ali concluded, “So my big take on it is I don’t think RETRIBUTION really sucked. I think we just never got an opportunity to answer the question of ‘why?'” [source: Sportskeeda WrestleBinge].
As Ali’s revelations give fans a behind-the-scenes understanding of RETRIBUTION’s shortcomings, it becomes evident that a lack of cohesive storytelling and a clear ‘why’ ultimately impeded the group’s progress. With hindsight, the lessons learned from this experience may shape Ali’s future endeavors, allowing him to explore new avenues that fully capitalize on his talents and creative vision.
Photo Credit: WWE