WWE's short-lived Retribution faction was mishandled in a number of ways, and while the faction included some A+ talent and a perfect leader, it never reached the potential it could have had. The group was supposed to have one more member in Mercedes Martinez, but after just one appearance with the group Martinez saw the writing on the wall, and ultimately decided to walk away from the group and return to NXT. She was later released from WWE, and now she is part of Impact Wrestling. In a new interview on Renee Paquette's Oral Sessions, Martinez explained all of the red flags she saw happening and when she finally decided to exit the group.
"RETRIBUTION was one of those opportunities. You want to get to the main roster – that was the thing. I was in the middle of a storyline with Rhea Ripley [in NXT] at that time, and they called me to Raw just to be [an] extra. Not only am I doing Raw and SmackDown, I'm also doing NXT in a whole week. It was just so much... then they were like, 'Now we want you to be part of this RETRIBUTION," Martinez said.
"Me in my head, I'm like, 'Ok, I just finished my storyline with Rhea in our 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 nearer something outside in real life," Martinez said.
The whole not knowing thing was okay at first, since they kept everyone hidden until they figured out the direction of the group, but it changed when they unveiled their identities.
"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. I was like, 'Alright, cool.' The moment that we unveiled ourselves, it was one of those things where I was like – I just can't. I can't do this," Martinez said. "I can not mentally go through this group knowing that 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 when there was no communication to talk to me about the group. It wasn't okay to let me know that you were going to change my name the day of, without a contract."
There were also plenty of changes coming in last minute and without any type of conversation ahead of those changes. "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're going to change my name. We didn't agree on that. We don't agree on anything. 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 want to talk to me, we can talk. I'm on an NXT contract, here we are on Raw, I'm not part of Raw yet. Let's talk. Let's figure out what's going on," Martinez said.
"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 is 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," Martinez said. "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 you're going to try to change a character and expect me to go 5-10 years. I probably can, but I have to think realistically. 20 years as Mercedes, there's no way I can go by another name, another character."
Martinez is back to using her name in Impact and seems happy with how things have gone so far.