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RETRIBUTION (left); Daniel Bryan (right)

5 WWE Superstars who were instantly removed from new factions

There has been a lot of confusion over the last week about WWE Superstar Mercedes Martinez and her status as a member of the RETRIBUTION faction.


WWE confirmed during the September 21, 2020 episode of WWE RAW that the three male RETRIBUTION members are known as T-Bar (fka Dominik Dijakovic), Mace (fka Dio Maddin), and Slapjack (fka Shane Thorne).


The two female Superstars in the faction, Mercedes Martinez and Mia Yim, were later renamed Retaliation and Reckoning. However, after Mustafa Ali was revealed as RETRIBUTION’s leader on the October 5 episode of WWE RAW, it was reported that Martinez is no longer part of the group.


PW Insider’s Mike Johnson wrote that Martinez has left RETRIBUTION and she will return to the WWE NXT roster.


This report was seemingly confirmed by Ali, who tweeted a graphic of himself alongside his fellow RETRIBUTION members, excluding Martinez.

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Interestingly, during the first night of the 2020 WWE Draft on the October 9 episode of WWE SmackDown, Martinez appeared next to her fellow RETRIBUTION members in a promotional graphic to advertise the second night of the roster changes.


As of the time of writing, it is unknown whether the two-time WWE Mae Young Classic participant is part of RETRIBUTION or not.


If she really has left the group, this will certainly not be the first time that a WWE Superstar has suddenly departed a faction shortly after joining.

In this article, let’s take a look at five WWE Superstars who were instantly removed from new factions.

#5 Daniel Bryan left The Nexus (WWE, 2010)

Mystery surrounds Mercedes Martinez and RETRIBUTION right now, but there was nothing mysterious about Daniel Bryan’s exit from The Nexus in June 2010.

The eight-man faction wreaked havoc all around the ring and ringside area on their WWE RAW debut. Not only did they attack John Cena in the middle of the ring, but the villainous group also targeted WWE’s commentators and the ring announcer, Justin Roberts.

At one stage during the invasion, Bryan began to choke Roberts with his tie – something that is not allowed in WWE’s PG era.

As Bryan recalled on Chris Jericho’s Talk Is Jericho podcast in 2014, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon called him at the end of the week and said he could no longer work for WWE.

“He [Vince McMahon] says, 'I'm sorry we have to do this,' and I say not to feel bad for me, because I'm going to make more money than I've ever had before just based on the independents. I knew that took him aback a little bit.”

Bryan ended up returning to WWE two months later in the main event of WWE SummerSlam 2010, which saw a team of seven WWE Superstars, including Bryan, defeat The Nexus.

#4 Sawyer Fulton left SAnitY (WWE NXT, 2016)

Other than The Undisputed Era, not many WWE NXT factions had as much success on the black and gold brand as SAnitY.

The four-person group, consisting of Alexander Wolfe, Eric Young, Killian Dain, and Nikki Cross, worked with almost every top Superstar in WWE NXT between October 2016 and April 2018.


One month after SAnitY debuted, original member Sawyer Fulton suffered a torn pectoral muscle. As a result, he had to miss several months of in-ring action, prompting WWE NXT’s decision-makers to replace him with Dain.

Fulton returned to the ring at WWE NXT live events in May 2017. However, he never competed in a televised WWE match again before receiving his release from the company in November 2017.

Meanwhile, the other male members of SAnitY went on to join the WWE SmackDown roster in April 2018 as part of the post-WrestleMania 34 Superstar Shake-Up.

Unfortunately, things did not exactly go according to plan. The trio only picked up two victories, both on PPV kickoff shows, during their one-year stint on WWE’s main roster.

Fulton has worked in IMPACT Wrestling since March 2019.

#3 Rick Rude left D-Generation X (WWE, 1997)

Rick Rude's WWE contract ended shortly after D-Generation X formed

Rick Rude’s name is rarely mentioned when WWE looks back on the history of D-Generation X.

The one-time WWE Intercontinental Champion was one of the original D-Generation X members when the faction formed on October 13, 1997.

Rude, whose full-time in-ring career came to an end three years earlier, began working as a bodyguard for Shawn Michaels around the time that the D-Generation group was put together.

Michaels, Triple H, Chyna, and Rude only joined forces for four weeks before Rude left WWE and became a member of the nWo in WCW.

Sean Waltman (aka X-Pac), who later joined D-Generation X in March 1998, explained on the WINCLY podcast in 2019 why Rude did not belong in the group.

“Rick Rude, he walked out and left the company and it wasn't on good terms. I don't get anyone trying to make the connection there. No disrespect to Rick, but there was that segment on TV the following week when Shawn pushed the little guy over. That was an easy role to replace. He was just there and wasn't the spirit of DX.”

Rude was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017.

#2 Booker T left the nWo (WWE, 2002)

Booker T did not spend long in the nWo

Booker T was one of many WWE Superstars who briefly joined the New World Order (nWo) when the faction reformed in WWE in 2002.

The original three members of the nWo – Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall – returned to WWE in February 2002, shortly before WrestleMania 18.

The positive crowd reactions towards Hogan made it impossible for him to remain a member of the villainous group, so he was replaced by X-Pac.

In the four months that followed, The Big Show and Ric Flair had short stints in the group. Booker T and Shawn Michaels were also added as new nWo members.

In Booker T’s case, he joined the nWo on May 13, 2002 after being recruited by Flair. However, he was literally kicked out of the group on June 10, 2002 when Michaels hit him with a superkick.

Needless to say, with so many changes being made and with Hogan no longer involved, WWE’s nWo reboot was nowhere near as successful as the original WCW version.


The nWo only lasted in WWE from February 17, 2002 until July 15, 2002.

#1 Ahmed Johnson left The Nation of Domination (WWE, 1997)

Ahmed Johnson joined forces with his WWE rivals

The following 12 WWE Superstars were members of The Nation of Domination at one stage: Faarooq, Clarence Mason, J.C. Ice, Wolfie D, Crush, D'Lo Brown, Savio Vega, Kama Mustafa, Ahmed Johnson, Rocky Maivia, Mark Henry, and Owen Hart.

While many of those WWE Superstars remained in The Nation of Domination for over a year, including D’Lo Brown and original member Farooq, Ahmed Johnson’s association with the group only lasted for two months.

Shortly after he betrayed The Undertaker and turned heel to join The Nation of Domination, Johnson suffered a legitimate injury which forced him to miss seven weeks of in-ring action.

By the time Johnson returned, Vader had replaced him in the WWE Championship picture and his spot in The Nation of Domination had gone to Rocky Maivia (aka The Rock).

The Nation attacked the returning Johnson, who quickly reverted back to being a babyface, and he ended up joining forces with The Legion of Doom to battle Farooq & co. once again.

Edited by
Nishant Jayaram
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