United States Championship Match
Mustafa Ali seemed to be heading toward a feud with Kofi Kingston that would have used Ali’s fateful, KofiMania-tiggering 2019 injury to add layers to the RETRIBUTION leader’s heel character. Like a similarly promising angle with Ricochet before it, that was dropped. Now we have this Riddle feud that’s popped up over the last few weeks.
The Road to Fastlane
After the U.S. champ and his lucha bros Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado beat MACE, T-BAR & SLAPJACK, Ali had one of the meltdowns he’s been having on and off since being revealed as RETRIBUTION’s leader. This one actually led to something, though, and the help of his horde, he picked up a non-title win over Riddle.
You know what that means! Well, SLAPJACK had to be served up first, but then Ali got his title match on Raw this past Monday (Mar. 15). His boy T-BAR tried to help when he thought Mustafa was going to get stacked up, but ended up hurting his boss’ chances when he had the referee distracted as Ali rolled through and had Riddle’s shoulders on the mat. A short time later, it was all over...
The champ escaped the post-match beatdown from RETRIBUTION, and the SmackDown hacker went online to lobby for a rematch. Lo and behold, his wish has been granted.
What’s at stake
While it doesn’t feel like there’s a rocket strapped to Riddle’s back (at least not a high-powered one), he has been delivering good television matches, popping the right people with his doofus stoner routine, and not been hit with any new allegations of sexual misconduct or associated lawsuits. It seems unlikely he’ll drop the belt to a guy that leads an enhancement talent faction in a match added to a C-level PPV at the last minute.
More interesting is if a loss here will be what finally splinters RETRIBUTION. T-BAR’s already out...
Strange indeed.— Don’t Blink (@TBARRetribution) March 20, 2021
... and the gimmick’s biggest accomplishment is that it’s outlasted Raw Underground, the other “big idea” WWE introduced to grab ratings last summer. Other than that, it seems to have been a way to present Fox News’ boogeymen antifa like clowns. After initially helping The Hurt Business get over, RETRIBUTION’s drifted in and out of feuds that just stop for no discernible reason. While no one is naive enough to think things will suddenly get better for any of the talented folks working under masks if the group were dissolved, they’ve obviously peaked in their current role.
Ali could conceivably benefit from a split, however. Perhaps now that he’s showed even more versatility by playing a heel and actually generating interest in an undercard stable with his online work, WWE would give him a singles push after they wash the RETRIBUTION stink off him?
Probably not, but dare to dream.
Find out with us tomorrow, when Fastlane streams at 7 p.m. ET on WWE Network and the service’s new home, Peacock.
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