Mercedes Martinez was recently a guest on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette, where she spoke about her decision to leave the RETRIBUTION storyline in WWE.
“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.’
“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.
“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. 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.
“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 a 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.
“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. 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.”