Following on from the (not overly impactful) debut on Monday Night RAW, this week’s Smackdown gave us a better look at the faction that WWE have now named as RETRIBUTION that has also got my inner Sherlock Holmes (Hems?) thrown into overdrive.
After invading the ring, the five members dressed all in black waved around weapons before chasing off Corey Graves and Michael Cole from commentary, followed swiftly by a cameraman.
It was already apparent that at least one of RETRIBUTION is female, due to the voices that we could hear when they were in the ring. BUT, when attacking the superstars at ringside, one of the faction’s hair slipped from under the hood. Curly, dark hair not unlike the hairstyle of Vanessa Bourne from NXT…
On closer inspection and multiple re-watches, the person next to her ALSO has their hair spill out for a few seconds which makes me believe that RETRIBUTION is made up of three male and two female superstars. The other member that I think is female has a close-up a few times and her eyes make me think of Chelsea Green.
Now, the three males. As previously reported, both Dominik Dijakovic and Tommaso Ciampa have wiped clean their Twitter and Instagram accounts. Dijakovic has made his profile picture on Instagram a plain black image, THE VERY SAME PLAIN BLACK IMAGE (or similar) that Aleister Black has posted FOUR times very recently, the latest with a revenge-type comment:
Indulge me slightly, if you will. The dictionary says:
‘Punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act.’
Black has always represented himself as one that feels the need for vengeance and would fit incredibly well into the role of a faction leader. His problems with Seth Rollins and Murphy as of late would give him reason for wanting to take ‘retribution’ but I don’t think the chaotic violence shown by RETRIBUTION so far would be a good fit for him unless he’s cast in the ‘cult leader’ kind of role.
Let’s speculate a touch, who else could be the leader if not Black? Who else would be feeling wronged? Maybe one of the plenty of wrestlers released back in April, that’s who. Without a doubt most of them would be feeling ‘wronged’ by being let go from the company.
Plenty of those released have found new homes on AEW or IMPACT but one that has not is the former Rusev (now Miro), who announced recently that:
“I’m done. I’m done wrestling. I’m a professional Twitcher now.”
Hmmm… is he though?
He has the intensity needed for a faction leader and the fans would get behind him without a doubt, although that’s probably very wishful thinking on my part.
There’s so many people that this faction could be made up of and, as they’ve only been shown under masks and hoods, the WWE could easily switch out any or all of the members until they’re unmasked.
So, with all that being said, here are my thoughts:
- Vanessa Bourne. 90% sure it’s her, there’s the shot of her hair coming free and the build matches.
- Dominik Dijakovic. Again, quite certain. 80%. That’s going off his social media presence being wiped and the black picture as his new profile.
- Chelsea Green. There are a couple shots of a RETRIBUTION members eyes on Smackdown and her eyes are quite… what’s the word… unique? 70%.
- Tommaso Ciampa/Aleister Black. It’ll be one or the other with these, both strong and intense characters, and unless it’s a planned slow build to them facing off down the line, one of them would run the risk of being overshadowed and left out. Ciampa 30%, Black… ugh I’m going for it… 70%.
- Let it be Rusev? 8%.
This is all a combination of speculation, some research and some guesswork but would love to hear any other suggestions on who they could be!