On this week's episode of Raw Talk, RETRIBUTION leader Mustafa Ali addressed an issue that has been raised by a number of WWE fans, discussing why the other members of his group were renamed in such an unconventional fashion upon their main roster debut.
According to Wrestling Inc., many fans have derided the names company officials gave the former NXT superstars who make up the core membership of the masked faction — T-BAR (Dominik Dijakovic), SLAPJACK (Shane Thorne), Mace (Dio Maddin), and Reckoning (Mia Yim).
When Raw Talk co-hosts Charly Caruso and R-Truth brought up the unusual monikers to Ali, the stable leader remarked it was "funny" that someone called R-Truth was making fun of them, as quoted by the publication.
"Imagine being judged by your name. Imagine being mocked because of how you look. Now, imagine a guy named Mustafa Ali that gave the members of RETRIBUTION names and masks so that they can feel what he feels. So that they, too, can be judged by their names and how they look. It's a crazy concept, isn't it?"Following up on her earlier question, Caruso asked Ali to specifically reveal what SLAPJACK and T-BAR meant. Instead of providing an answer, he invited his stablemates to join Raw Talk, leading them to interrupt the show right before it went off the air.
Several hours prior to the aforementioned appearance, Ali took to the Twitter account he used during his time as the Friday Night SmackDown hacker, uploading a brief video and offering a very similar explanation. You can view the clip here.
It hasn't just been regular fans who have been taking shots at RETRIBUTION due to their monikers and masks. Shortly after they cut their first televised promo, the WrestleVotes Twitter account claimed the decision to rename the members and give them new facial gear was "met [with] LAUGHTER" backstage, as this was "already making the road for these guys impossible to climb."
Aside from the aforementioned backlash, rumors have also suggested RETRIBUTION lost its push because of a lack of focus among top company officials. Following their first appearance on WWE programming, chairman Vince McMahon reportedly made booking decisions for the group on a week-to-week basis, as opposed to planning their storylines well in advance. As a result of this supposedly unfocused approach, the faction has yet to win a match on television, despite how Ali was a familiar face to viewers before he revealed himself as the leader.