Former WWE Superstar Mercedes Martinez has revealed the real reason why her very short-lived stint with the RETRIBUTION stable came to an end.
Mercedes Martinez made her first venture into WWE in 2017 after a long and winding career on the independent scene. The former Ring of Honor star took part in the first ever Mae Young Classic tournament, losing in the semi-finals to Shayna Baszler. Martinez entered the tournament once more the following year, this time being defeated by current NXT UK Women’s Champion Meiko Satomura in the second round.
After a brief stop off in AEW, where he appeared at All Out in 2019 as the ‘Joker’ in the Casino Battle Royale, Mercedes Martinez returned to WWE on a permanent basis in early 2020.
However, she jumped to the main roster in September as part of RETRIBUTION, the unidentified group who had been causing chaos across the main roster. After the group’s identity was revealed, Martinez quickly left the stable, returning to NXT without explanation.
Speaking in a new interview with Bell To Belles, Mercedes Martinez opened up about why she left the group. The former NXT Superstar initially put her issues with the group down to a lack of communication about her role and what the stable was about.
“To be honest, The RETRIBUTION pitch was not pitched to me. Well, if we want to get real because I’m a straight shooter and always have been, and don’t like to beat around the bush here. It was a concept of maybe they wanted me as a part of this RETRIBUTION. It was, you know how everyone was kind of going in, they had all the extras when it was a big mob of everyone under hoods? You know, that whole big thing?
“When they were finally trying to figure out the core group, I was still fresh off the storyline with Rhea Ripley. We just came off the cage match and, you know, I said, ‘I can’t do anything with RETRIBUTION because I don’t know anything about it,” Mercedes said. “I don’t know what the concept is.’ I wanted more information was my deal, I wanted to make sure that if I was going to be part of this stable, I wanted to be sure morally, for me, and mentally that this is something that I want to be behind.
Is this going to affect me in my career, is this going to affect my legacy, is it going to affect my life personally? Yeah, it was just like, ‘You just made it to WWE. Like, this is you opportunity to be on the main roster.’ But is it the right opportunity to be on the main roster was the question that was in the back of my head…
“It was a decision that I made right on the spot because I felt that it was decision that had to be made right then and there. So when they revealed us as RETRIBUTION, that first time they revealed us on camera, on RAW, where Mia cut her promo, that was pretty much my last day. I was pretty much like, ‘I can’t do this.’ They wanted to change names, which is fine, you can change your name, but I wanted to– my thing was communication,” she noted.
“Communication was a big thing for me where they didn’t communicate with me, they didn’t communicate on what the group was about. They didn’t communicate the name changes until we were revealed. And the gear, the masks, everything was just– communication. I’m a big communication person where I want to be prepared for my job, I want to know what’s going on.”
Martinez also explained that she struggled to wear a mask in the ring due to her being asthmatic, although she admits she felt she just didn’t want to be part of the group.
“We knew we were going to wear masks but I thought it was more for entrance, or for just the aesthetic or whatever, which is fine because I wear face masks in my entrance,” Mercedes said. “Which is perfectly fine, I feel like we should have had some input in it, like, ‘Maybe here’s my face mask, I have two different face masks. Maybe we can make something similar to these two but for this group.’
You know, I tried really hard but I can’t wrestle in [the RETRIBUTION] mask. And that’s another issue is that I can’t wrestle in a mask, I have asthma. It’s hard for me to breathe in the first place without a mask, how am I going to wrestle in a mask?
“When something doesn’t feel right, regardless of if you can be on the main roster, you can make all this money and stuff, at the end of the day, I just didn’t feel it in my heart. It really came down to that. I just felt like I really shouldn’t be a part of this group. And people probably think that’s the wrong decision, but for me, it’s the right decision right then and there.
Maybe they could have gotten somebody else, but for me and the 20 years I have put in this business, I didn’t want my WWE career to be valued as part of a group. And a name change, and everything changed from what people know me as.”
The IMPACT Wrestling star also believes that her release in August 2021, had nothing to do with requesting to leave the group. Martinez explained that everyone was on the same page, but that ultimately it was important to stay true to herself.
Following her release by WWE, Mercedes Martinez signed with IMPACT Wrestling challenging Deonna Purrazzo for the IMAPCT Knockouts Title in October.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.