For a brief time - after they were just goons in hoodies but before Mustafa Ali was revealed as their leader - RETRIBUTION had five masked, codenamed members. Then one of the two women disappeared.
We didn’t need the rumor mill to tell us it was Mercedes Martinez who was missing. We also didn’t need behind-the-scenes reports to guess it might be because a veteran who’d blazed trails for women on the independents didn’t want to be a part of an act WWE didn’t seem to be fully behind, and that fans rejected from the jump.
But we got both those things. And now that Mercedes is back in NXT and doing press in support of the first Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament for the women’s roster, we’re getting confirmation of both.
Here’s what she told PWInsider about the situation with RETRIBUTION:
“I can dive into that and let people know what was going on. It’s pretty much, I was given an opportunity and I took the opportunity, not knowing what the outcome would be. You have to make the best of everything you can, but when that opportunity came, it wasn’t for me. When you hit this pinnacle of your career like I did after almost 20 years, you want to make the most of your career and part of a legacy and what you want to be for your career, I think being part of that group - it’s no hidden fact that it was me. I don’t mention it because it was a small part of the bigger picture.
“It was a thing of this is what Mercedes is, but maybe it doesn’t fit the mold or career or trajectory of what I want my legacy to be. It was no hard feelings, we just had two different plans and I wanted something to go one way and they had a different outlook, maybe they were still working on their outlook. I said, ‘Hey, I know where I want my career and this is not it.’ I don’t give any hard feelings and I wish nothing but success to all those part of the group. I just think it wasn’t meant for me, it was meant for someone else. I want to make my legacy different and that’s why I’m back on NXT and will put my mark on the women’s division there.”
So again, pretty much what we expected. Martinez picked up her run on the black-and-gold brand by attacking Women’s champ Io Shirai, and will be a part of the first Women’s Dusty Cup match tomorrow night (Jan. 20) when she teams with Toni Storm against Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter.
As for RETRIBUTION? They’re in a promising feud with New Day. But the remaining female member, RECKONING/Mia Yim, isn’t doing much after they dropped an angle where she was targeting Asuka. She lost a feud to Dana Brooke and 50/50-ed another with Nikki Cross on Main Event.
Hard to say Mercedes made the wrong call.