When a thoughtful and conflicted Ricochet sat down with Charly Caruso and R-Truth on RAW Talk, it seemed that RETRIBUTION’s constant pressure was working. He admitted that he wasn’t ruling out joining the anarchistic outfit, and that something about his strategy had to change. The interview not only went viral, but it seemed to be leading to a decisive confrontation with former friend Mustafa Ali, and a heel turn for Ricochet as he embraced Ali’s dark vision.
"Something's gotta change."@KingRicochet has seemingly been pushed to the brink of tears by @AliWWE and #RETRIBUTION. #RAWTalk pic.twitter.com/geXFt4xbDn
— WWE (@WWE) December 22, 2020
The RETRIBUTION storyline has had its share of twists and turns, from the mob scene ambushes at the Performance Center, to the reveal of Mustafa Ali as its mastermind, and the winnowing of the stable to the figures of Ali, Mace, Slapjack, T-Bar, and Reckoning. However, the potential of Ricochet joining their ranks would be something of a shot in the arm: his unparalleled athleticism would certainly make them a true threat. If that is the final outcome, RAW viewers did not get the final payoff on the December 28, 2020 episode, but rather an intriguing fever pitch.
Ricochet was finally pitted against his former friend one on one, after several dispiriting assaults from Ali’s underlings. Ricochet began the match hot and on the offense, hitting Ali with a quick series of blows, and succinctly applying a power slam and elbow drop, getting a cover on Ali, who kicked out. Ricochet followed this up with two dropkicks, another failed cover, and a back body drop to Ali. It is this sheer power and impressive speed which Ali covets for his team, and has repeatedly tried to either entice or intimidate Ricochet to join.
Mustafa Ali got Ricochet into a corner and unleashed several strikes, and as they scuffled back to mid-ring hit Ricochet with a flying neckbreaker. Ali got a cover, but to no avail-Ricochet kicked out. The action moved to the ropes, where RETRIBUTION got involved in defense of their maestro. Deploying Reckoning to distract Ricochet, T-Bar and Mace got Ricochet down on his back by the barricade, putting him in position for maximum impact when Ali took to the ropes to deliver a splash.
From there, Ali continued to dominate, working Ricochet, and restraining him in a clutch. With Ricochet seemingly weakened, Ali delivered a hard elbow to his chest in a drop and got a cover. Ricochet not only kicked out, but maneuvered to his feet in a backflip and delivered a suplex to Ali, and a hard elbow to chest drop of his own to Ali. Ricochet seemed to be turning matters around to his advantage with a clothesline and a kickback.
RETRIBUTION had other ideas, and Mace saved their leader, while Slapjack and T-Bar surrounded the ring. Ricochet, defiant, delivered flying dropkicks to Slapjack and T-Bar, and Ali, a ddt to Mace, and got Ali back in the ring. He mounted the ropes and attempted to finish off Ali with a shooting star, but Ali recovered and thwarted Ricochet’s finishing maneuver, securing the victory with a Koji clutch.
After defeating Ricochet, Ali repeated his offer to join RETRIBUTION. This was the moment teased by that Raw Talk appearance, and another defeat seemed to have brought Ricochet to his breaking point. However, the valiant defiance that prevailed against the Hurt Business in previous storylines did not fail him here-though RETRIBUTION took the day, it seemed Ricochet’s soul could not be won. He not only refused Ali, but hit him with a recoil for good measure, and a message.
.@AliWWE: "Join RETRIBUTION. What is your decision?@KingRicochet: #WWERaw pic.twitter.com/PJcAGuQDjs
— WWE (@WWE) December 29, 2020
It seems that Ricochet will face Ali and RETRIBUTION yet again, but after yet another rejection, will Ali still be trying to convert his former friend to his side, or merely be interested in breaking his rebellious spirit? Grounding the RETRIBUTION storyline in the heady dynamic of betrayal and temptation between the two former allies has given a clear face and heel to the plot, and the longer Ricochet resists, the suspense thickens as to just how long he can do so.
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