The WWE's writing team has a slew of different formulas it likes to implement when it comes to building drama that captivates user interest. The long reveal is one of them, where a masked man/woman begins gumming up the works for other superstars or maybe even the organization as a whole. And one recurring theme in the WWE in the past few years has been "breaking the fourth wall," which has increased with the latest mystery behind the RETRIBUTION members' identity mystery.
Who are the members of the RETRIBUTION team?
Every pro-wrestling fan remembers the moment when they discovered that pro-wrestling was "fake" — that the angry monologues, beefs, and storylines between the superstars, along with the match outcomes, were all pre-decided by a group of writers out of the ring. But it seems that the WWE has, to an extent, embraced this broken kayfabe and managed to incorporate the pageantry of sports entertainment into the storylines themselves.
The havoc being caused by the RETRIBUTION group is yet another example of that. Intentionally "messing" with the show's production, setting things on fire, ruining microphones and interrupting segments has become the group's M.O. and it's leading a lot of viewers at home to wonder just who in the heck is a part of this group of superstars who are hell bent at disrupting the flow of the WWE's operations.
So who could be the wrasslers behind the masks in the RETRIBUTION squad? Well, SmackDown fans were treated to a little bit of a hint recently when female crowd members were attacked by some of the ski-mask rocking ne'er-do-wells. A bit of blonde hair was seen poking out of a mask, leading viewers to believe it was a woman laying the smackdown on the double-x-chromosome bystanders.
Many people believe that at least one member of the RETRIBUTION team is Vanessa Borne.
While Vanessa was added to the main roster, the WWE hasn't really been giving her that much of a promotional push. Again, it's common for the organization to gas up a lot of different Superstars until they can figure out what to do with them and how to place them in the WWE's labyrinthine narrative structure.
With all of the injuries that can occur in and out of the ring, wrestlers are only one false move away from not being able to perform, which can cause some serious hang-ups for the WWE's storylines, so there needs to be a lot of material to work with to ensure a constant flow of entertainment.
What's great with the "masked vigilantes" storyline is that they can always be replaced by whoever's available to wrestle.
The Wrestling Observe Newsletter offered up some commentary on the possibility of it being Vanessa Borne behind the mask: "Now, this was a small touch is that the woman in the RETRIBUTION group was the only one who punched or kicked the other woman and they took enough of her mask off to where you could see her long hair with the idea it’s not a man beating on a woman but a woman doing so. It should help ratings for a few weeks..."
It does seem like a main roster narrative is in the cards for the members of the RETRIBUTION team...they haven't been transitioned to NXT so that means it could very well end up being one of the WWE's main 2020 narratives.
The RETRIBUTION faction has come under fire for its "political undertones" by folks on social media who have noticed some similarities between the group's actions and ANTIFA.
Many have also pointed out that it seems like the WWE is intentionally making them appear to be a bunch of angsty teenagers, not just in stature, but their behavior as well, further eliciting comparisons between them and ANTIFA coverage.
The WWE has denied any intentional similarities between the two groups, but the organization hasn't shied away from hot-button political issues in the past.
Remember the whole Mohammed Hassan storyline where the dude was basically a terrorist in the organization who would hire goons who looked like members of ISIS to beat up other superstars? His gimmick became so controversial that he started getting death threats and had to be permanently removed from matches. His character was never seen again after the Undertaker beat him in a high-profile match.