The New Day’s Kofi Kingston suffered a broken jaw on December 28, at the hands of The Hurt Business’s Cedric Alexander. Despite pushing through the pain for a couple of weeks, Kingston is currently sidelined in recovery. That leaves his New Day teammate Xavier Woods holding down the fort alone on RAW. Alone seems to be exactly where Mustafa Ali wants him. The RETRIBUTION frontman has his sights set on Woods to address his grievances against Kingston, and this feud may be just what RETRIBUTION has been lacking.
— Mustafa Ali / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) January 18, 2021
Ali made it clear in a promo before the match that he delights in Kingston’s broken jaw, and the idea of him watching the Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, and WrestleMania from home, seeing his dreams stolen by another. This alludes to Ali’s 2019 injury, which led to him being substituted in the Elimination Chamber by Kingston, who went on to defeat Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35 and claim the WWE Championship. Grounding Ali’s aggression in bitterness at this lost opportunity makes sense-Kingston took Ali’s place on the Grandest Stage of Them All. It is the kind of broken dream that RETRIBUTION has vowed time and time again it is their mission to avenge, but until now that has seemed hollow. As Ali vowed to break Kingston’s heart and spirit by breaking Woods in Kingston’s proxy, the RETRIBUTION storyline finally gained what it has been lacking since its summer 2020 debut: a backstory, and an adversary.
Woods and MACE met in the ring, with Ali and his other RETRIBUTION subjugates on hand. Ali berated Woods, and Woods struck first blood with a punch to Ali. It was a gutsy move, considering that Ali has his whole faction to call on, and Woods is a man alone with Kingston’s injury and Big E’s departure. However, that is just the sort of Heel vs. Face tension that RETRIBUTION’s storyline needs for dramatic heft.
MACE lumbered towards Woods, swinging wildly at him, with Ali shouting encouragement at his surrogate. It was Woods, however, who seized the advantage quickly, and got MACE in a corner, pummeling the giant with punches and kicks. Mace broke free, deadlifted Woods, slammed him to the canvas, and got a cover. Wood kicked out, foiling any thoughts on MACE’s part that this would be over quickly and easily. MACE retorted with a knee strike to Woods’s back, and covered him once more.
Ali exhorted MACE to break Woods’s jaw as he maneuvered him into a punishing headlock. However, Woods valiantly fought free. Using the ropes to propel him, Woods showed off the insouciant physicality the New Day is known for by launching into a sliding knee shot against MACE. His aim was true, but still, the lumbering Mace was not phased. Woods’ onslaught was not finished, as he reigned elbow strikes on the back of Woods’s head. He attempted to backflip into a strike on MACE, but landed in his opponent’s grasp, MACE’s hand around his neck.
Woods issued a hard kick to MACE that sent him outside the ring. Ali stepped up, and got a kick from Woods, too. It was an impressive, fiery, spirited showing from a solo Xavier Woods, but MACE’s prodigious strength won the day. Mace lifted, spun, slammed, and covered Woods, getting the win.
While this is not the first time that the New Day and RETRIBUTION have faced off, this showing inaugurated a promising new narrative. It established the Ali v. Kingston feud, with Ali seeking to punish Kingston through Woods, which keeps Woods relevant during his partner’s leave of absence, and Kingston on the audience’s mind, anticipating his heroic return whenever possible. It was also hinted that Kingston is not the only Superstar he harbors resentment against for stealing his spotlight. This positions Ali as a vengeful narcissist, who is manipulating RETRIBUTION to his own end. Will MACE, SLAPAJCK, T-BAR, or RECKONING figure out they are being used and turn on him? Who will Ali target next? Continuing in this vein may be a shot in the arm for RETRIBUTION.
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