In appearance on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette, Mercedes Martinez was asked about her brief run as a member of the stable Retribution during 2020. Martinez initially joined the stable as Retaliation, but ultimately asked out of the group soon after. She stated a lack of communication with WWE over the stable and them wanting to change her name from Mercedes to Retaliation were the main reasons for asking out of the stable.
“So Retribution was one of those opportunities, right? You want to get to the main roster,” Martinez said. “I was in the middle of a storyline with Rhea Ripley at that time, and they called me to RAW just to be an extra. I was like ‘alright.’ Finally I’m doing RAW and Smackdown, but I’m also doing NXT in a full week. It was so much, I was like ‘alright, boom boom boom.’ Then they were like ‘we want you to be part of this Retribution.’ Me in my head I’m like ‘okay, I just finished my storyline with Rhea in that steel cage match. This is my opportunity.’
“However, personally, I needed to know what this group was going to do. What is this group? What is the mentality of this group? Is this something personally that I can get behind? No one knew anything about this group. Mind you, everything was going on in the world with the riots. So is this part of that, because I don’t condone it. I don’t want to be part of something that may be near something in my life. They didn’t know what was going on, so I was like ‘alright, so just keep us hidden.’ That’s what they did, with the hoods and everything. The moment that we unveiled ourselves, it was one of those things where I said, ‘I just can’t. I can’t do this. I cannot mentally go through this group, knowing my whole career was based on me and doing things my way.’
“It’s okay to be part of a group, but it wasn’t okay for there was no communication to talk to me about the group. It wasn’t okay to let me know you were going to change my name the day of, without a contract. I was still on an NXT contract. And I’m not stupid, I’m a grown-ass woman. Talk to me, don’t tell me the day of the show that you wanted to change my name. We didn’t even agree on that. We don’t agree on anything. And if you want to do something, that’s fine, but don’t expect me to take it down lightly. I’m one of those people that if you talk to me, we can talk. I’m on an NXT contract, here we are on RAW, I’m not part of RAW yet, so let’s talk. Let’s figure out what’s going on.
“The moment that happened, I was like, ‘I can’t do this. I don’t want to be a part of this group. There’s no communication. I want to be known as Mercedes Martinez.’ That is what I built my legacy on, that’s what I built my brand on. I don’t want to be known as another name in WWE, because my point to get here was based on me. You took me as me, you took me as Mercedes Martinez, not as another person. You can change me all you want, but I don’t have a long shelf life. I’m 40 years old. There’s no way that you’re going to try and change a character and expect me to go five, ten years. I probably can, but I had to think realistically. 20 years as Mercedes, there’s just no way I can go as another name, another character.”
Martinez continued to emphasize that communication was the biggest issue for her in regards to Retribution, especially concerning the direction of the stable. While she admitted others may respond to WWE’s style of communication better, it just didn’t work for Mercedes Martinez personally.
“It was just ‘talk to us,'” Martinez said. “I believe in communication and I think maybe they had a lot of things going on. I’m not sure. Maybe they didn’t want us, maybe they did. I was like ‘okay, I can be a part of this but I need to know the communication. When are we going to talk about my contract? When are we going to talk about what’s going into this RAW contract, when are we going to talk about this name change? When are we going to talk about gear and clothes? Character?’ I had no clue what this character was going to be like. We’re just dressed in black and we’re just walking out there. ‘What am I? Am I still going to be Mercedes with a different name? Am I wearing a mask? I can’t breathe in this mask, I can’t work in the mask. I can’t do this. You want to put me in a mask? I have a face mask for my entrance, use mine.’ It was the communication factor that through me off. And not to say people can’t do it, just me personally.”
Martinez then took Paquette through how she got out of the stable and back to NXT, while also revealing Bruce Prichard that came up with the idea of changing her name from Mercedes Martinez to Retaliation. Ultimately, it was decided Martinez would return to NXT, where she felt she was able to reset.
“Bruce Prichard was the one who told that my name was changing right before we got our deal,” Martinez said. “And I was just like ‘oh no, we can’t do this.’ I spoke to (Mark) Carrano, I spoke to D’Von (Dudley) and I eventually called Matt Bloom and said ‘this is what I’m feeling. I’m not feeling this group, I don’t want to be a part of this group. I don’t think it’s right for me and my career, I just think it’s best for someone new who can build a career here, who has a shot. But if this doesn’t work, what are you going to do with me? I would rather just keep building on my Mercedes name if that’s okay. I would rather just stay in NXT. It’s not about the money, which it never is for me. It’s really just about me and my legacy and what I’ve done for 20 years.’
“And they all agreed. I was just like, ‘I’m good. Thank you for the opportunity, and when there’s another opportunity for me to be Mercedes, hit me up. I’m still going to be here.’ And that’s how we took it. They gave me 2 months off and they’re like ‘yup, we agree.’ Everybody was onboard. They talked to Vince and from what I understand, he understood where I was coming from. And they put me back on NXT. It took about two months to let everything clear, to try and figure out storylines, and then I was back on NXT and I hit it running from there. It was like a reset, I guess you could say.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription
Have a news tip or correction? Send it to [email protected]