Since day one, the WWE has always had a love of powerful factions dominating the airwaves.

    When done correctly, the strength of a faction – be it heel or face – that gets over can improve the organization’s roster considerably. Just take a look at The Shield as one example; all three of their members went on to headline PPV events and carry championship gold.

    Arguably the gold standard for all-conquering stables was the Four Horsemen, a group which laid the foundation for Rick Flair’s singles glory while confirming Arn and Ole Anderson and Tully Blanchard’s status as some of the most reliable performers in the industry.

    The Hart Foundation made a star of Bret Hart while propelling Owen Hart and Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart higher on the bill, Evolution helped Randy Orton cement his dastardly heel status and D-Generation X were the perfect poster boys for the non-nonsense Attitude Era.

    In short, the faction served a purpose, be it to promote its members as singles competitors or to revitalize the careers of performers who were struggling to get over with the WWE Universe on their own.

    All of which brings us to RETRIBUTION, the latest stable from the often warped and occasionally misguided imagination of Vincent K. McMahon.

    Initially, the hype machine was in full working order with this band of masked crusaders, with footage of them throwing Molotov cocktails at the WWE performance center suggesting they were going to be something of a chaotic force in the company.

    They got a huge push, generated tangible buzz on social media and then… promptly lost their first televised outing to Hurt Business. Way to build a credible threat, guys. And since then? Well, the jury remains firmly out…

    A Timely Intervention

    It won’t have escaped most wrestling fans’ attention that Survivor Series is scheduled for the end of November.

    This PPV event has delivered some classic faction-based match-ups in the past, and the concern is that McMahon has dreamt up RETRIBUTION in order to continue that lineage – perhaps against Hurt Business or The New Day and chums.

    That will be something of a disappointment for fans, which can spot a shoehorned stable from a mile away, and if RETRIBUTION don’t start generating more heat in the weeks ahead then they could be disbanded in the blink of an eye.

    When they first appeared on our screens, many thought that it was in fact the Undisputed Era – finally making their long-awaited move to the main roster.

    But RETRIBUTION have since been unmasked, with the rather surprising choice of Mustafa Ali as the nominated leader backed by a number of jobbers and little known stars acting as the background muscle.

    It will be interesting to keep your eyes peeled to the best online sportsbooks in the US, as that will give an indication as to how well supported the faction’s members are. At the time of writing, in terms of moneyline betting in the Royal Rumble, Ali has +3300 odds to win outright and Mercedes Martinez – the lead female member – is at +6600 for the women’s version of the battle royal. That hardly screams ‘main event incoming.’

    Also, are the likes of T-BAR (former NXT ace Dominik Dijakovic), MACE, SLAPJACK and RECKONING bound for singles stardom? It seems unlikely at this stage and, unfortunately, that means that RETRIBUTION look poised to be filed into the second category of faction folklore – disparate performers grouped together because the story writers couldn’t think of anything better to do with them.

    A Great Big Set of Heels

    Any heel faction needs a face stable to play off against.

    Ultimately, RETRIBUTION may just be a vehicle to propel Ali back to main event status, which he looked certain to attain in 2019 prior to suffering a frustrating injury as his momentum was building.

    But even so, the rest of the faction will need their own outlet to remain relevant on RAW, and so suitable opponents will need to be sought.

    So who could they face at Survivor Series? There are some faces seeking employment, including Keith Lee, who has been drafted to the red brand, while Kevin Owens and perhaps even AJ Styles, who has been meandering of late, will be given the nod to give RETRIBUTION a forceful alliance to battle. Tellingly, Hurt Business will remain on RAW after the Draft while The New Day – shy of Big E – will also be contenders.

    This is crunch time for the viability of RETRIBUTION as a genuine threat, and the next few weeks will surely determine how long this faction can reign supreme in the WWE.