Despite the fact their storyline with Ricochet has generating some interest, RETRIBUTION was not on Raw last night (Jan. 4).
This is not unusual. It’s been a pattern throughout the group’s existence. Something happens to get fans interested in RETRIBUTION, then WWE either drops that thing, books them for Main Event instead of Raw, or both.
Getting upset about this kind of stop/start booking, and other WWE bad habits, has been part of the gimmick from their debut back in August. It came up in a big way on Raw Talk last night. Despite not appearing on Raw, RETRIBUTION’s leader Mustafa Ali was a guest on the post-show. He cut loose about that, and the company’s general infatuation with the past, in this excellent interview.
“I am agitated. I’m angry, but most of all, I’m confused. We dedicated a three-hour show to old has-beens. You want to call them ‘Legends’, call them whatever - they’ve had their time. A night like tonight is exactly what is wrong with this company. Three hours? To guys that can barely walk?
“... Oh respect. Listen, I am not bewildered. I know exactly that the generation before me paved the way, but when the hell are you going to let me walk on that path? Guys like Drew Gulak, Akira Tozawa, myself, all of RETRIBUTION - not on the show. Why? Because we need to hear ‘Whatcha gonna do brother?’ AGAIN! For the seventh million time...
“They pumped in the cheers. They pumped them in real good for them, huh? They were cheering, I’m sure they were. Why don’t you give us a chance? People that can contribute to this business. Further this company. but no. No, no, no, no... let’s push them all aside. Let’s give THREE HOURS to people that need - that can barely walk! ...they paved the way. They carved a path, when do I get to walk on that path? And for anybody that doesn’t understand what I’m saying, it’s not because I’m talking fast, it’s because you’re listening slow. This place needs change and I am that change!”
It’s great stuff, especially because despite the fact he’s reciting frequent fan complaints, Ali works to keep it a heel promo by insinuating the audience doesn’t understand him. This speech also comes after one of the more successful Legends Nights, at least in terms of integrating the veterans into the show and using them to promote current Superstars.
After the bit transcribed above, he goes on to continue selling the Ricochet angle. That’s also good! But here’s the problem...
WWE’s already shown us that RETRIBUTION is an undercard act, and that I shouldn’t get my hopes up that they’ll ever be more than that - let alone accomplish their goal of destroying the company or whatever. I’m hesitant to get too invested in the Ricochet, lest it go the way of RECKONING’s targeting of Asuka, or Ali’s hacker skills, or...
Mustafa is getting a chance to remind everyone how talented he is. Ricochet is improving the one hole in his game before our eyes. The other members of the group are at least getting a brighter spotlight to show their personalities. Those are all good things.
But I have a hard time getting excited about this story, because I don’t believe WWE cares about it.