Vince McMahon Loved RETRIBUTION’s Masks

In a recent conversation with The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast, former WWE Superstar Shane Thorne recounted the origins of the Slapjack character and its mask.

When RETRIBUTION initially debuted in WWE, their identities remained hidden for quite a while. However, once the core group was established, they received new names. In addition to the new names were unique masks for each of the characters. According to Thorne, there was “no direction” given (by Vince McMahon or anyone else) regarding the masks or his abrupt name change to Slapjack.

“We pretending the masks were going to be an entrance thing. That all come, that was a whirlwind of a day. We knew they wanted masks,” Thorne recalled. “I think that came from Dijak pitching, even before that, he was pitching terrifying masks things for himself. He said he’d given Vince that pitch and Vince loved it. Then the guy who made Bray Wyatt’s mask made these masks as well. The quality of the masks were amazing. He did not design them, he did not. He just did the best with what they gave him, and we all saw how mine turned out. I guess they wanted to see what we would do with it.

“As we’re running backstage, we just got pulled aside and they’re like, ‘hey guys. Here’s your new names, Slapjack, T-Bar, Mace’,” Shane Thorne said. “We were just like bewildered. I know what a slapjack is. It’s a little weapon. They were meant to be weapons. I just wanted to hear from them so ‘what’s a slapjack?’. Like ‘oh, it’s this badass weapon’, like that’s not what people are going to know.”

Vince McMahon was a major proponent of the masks, so they weren’t going anywhere. Despite the quality of the masks, visibility was still an issue for Thorne. However, minor adjustments to the mask weren’t enough to avoid issues in the ring.

“Vince loved the masks. The first time we got them, we put them on and he’s like ‘I love em. These are great’. We were like, ‘yes sir, boss, whatever you say’. You’re not going to argue,” Thorne said. “The vision on the Slapjack mask is like wearing horse blinders. So I just said, ‘can we get these cut down a little bit, so I can see?’.

“I wanted the masks, the mouthpiece, to change, to be like downward lines so that it didn’t look like a smiley face. Then maybe cover the nose part so it’s just the bottom of the nose, not my whole dorky nose hanging out. Then only a little bit of that changed which didn’t help anything. We had a tag match once, and I got hit with a kick from the side of the head. I was looking forward, BAM, I was out. It was hard to breathe in. It was hard to keep straight.”

Issues with the mask aside, it was difficult for Throne to get TV time following RETRIBUTION’s disbandment. Unfortunately for him, numerous creative pitches were turned down. Even though Thorne pitched TV ideas directly to Vince McMahon, nothing materialized, and he was released shortly after being drafted to SmackDown.

“There’s only so much time and only so many main characters. I never took any of it personal,” Shane Thorne said. “We tried different ways to do it [get on TV]. I had a few chats with Vince as well, of like spitballing ideas. Never came to. I expected it [his WWE release] for four years with the run I was having, so yeah, every day is good. When I got the call, I was like, ‘thanks, I know you guys tried’.

“Also like, they have that PC full of young talent, young, fresh talent who haven’t been seen. So why not use those people? Fresh stuff. People, consumers, and that love new things. I don’t take any of it personally, I saved my money and took care of my body. I made a lot of good friends, some great memories. So I got nothing to be too upset about, I would’ve loved one last run without the mask as myself.”

To quote this article, please credit Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling Podcast and provide an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription

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