RETRIBUTION Couldn’t Even Let Us Enjoy SLAPJACK’s Big Night (www.cagesideseats.com)

Sean Rueter

After a week off in Main Event-land, Mustafa Ali and RETRIBUTION returned to Raw last night (Nov. 30).

It really looked like it was gonna be one of those weeks where the more hopeful among us would say, “maybe this gimmick can still be salvaged?” The stuff that happened on (and after) Main Event was good. MACE, T-BAR and the whole gang’s Twitter game remained sharp.

Then cult fave SLAPJACK got some mic time, and picked up a win over Ricochet!

Sadly, we didn’t get much time to celebrate Slappy’s big night. The match set-up by Dana Brooke’s appearance during SLAPJACK’s victory (which was follow-up from the attack that wrote Brooke out of Survivor Series back on Nov. 16 and, hey, we’re never gonna get mad about continuity around here) had to happen, and the old RETRIBUTION reared its head.

Within seconds of the opening bell, RECKONING lost her mask. We all knew it was Mia Yim. Mia has all but said as much herself while in character. But that not being mentioned by the announce team was… notable. Then, Dana was too smart to fall for Ali’s interference, and pinned RECKONING/Yim in her Raw debut.

Post-match, Ali further dressed down his lone female follower. “You just embarrassed me!” “There is no failure in RETRIBUTION!”

It could be a motivational tactic. Yim’s reaction could mean it’s working, or it could be a sign she’s about to follow Mercedes Martinez out of the group.

But it’s really hard to care. The bullying, gaslighting leader thing is already being done to perfection by Roman Reigns on SmackDown; asking Ali to do a version of it here is just the latest bad idea WWE’s had for RETRIBUTION. And honestly? As much as I like the performers and respect their efforts to work around bad creative, I just don’t believe this story is leading anywhere interesting. It’s hard to justify expending mental energy to connect dots that might not even be there any more.

Maybe if RETRIBUTION is actually on Raw again next week, I’ll reconsider.

In the meantime, way to go SLAPJACK! We don’t deserve you, you wild masked Aussie with a killer finisher.