Mercedes Martinez was part of the Retribution faction for a very brief period of time. While her performance was nothing short of stellar, she left the faction and went back to performing in NXT. Martinez appeared on Bell To Belles, where she talked about her sudden move to switch positions.
Martinez detailed one of the main reasons for leaving the faction to be the mask. Due to being asthmatic, she found it extremely difficult to wrestle with a mask on. She added that she initially thought that the mask was simply for aesthetic purposes and wouldn’t impede her in-ring performance.
You know, I tried really hard but I can’t wrestle in this mask and that’s another issue is that I can’t wrestle in a mask. I have asthma, it’s hard for me to breath in the first place without a mask. How am I going to wrestle in a mask? And you know, we’re still in (a) pandemic. For me to train or be in a gym or anything like that, I have to wear a mask and it’s so hard for me to do that-that I built my own home gym for that reason because I can’t breathe, I have to have an inhaler so, that was a safety issue for me.
Mercedes also stated that her identity and shelf-life as a pro-wrestler had a lot to do with it. The 40-year old former NXT Diva added that being part of a faction and a mask was not all she wanted to be known for. Her legacy was shaped by her own self, she said, and revealed that she wanted to maintain it and leave with it on her own terms.
I built my legacy on my own and for me, I was like, ‘I don’t have a long shelf life at 40 years old. I don’t know how long I’m gonna be a part of this business’, especially with WWE. I don’t know if they’re gonna keep me around long. I don’t know anything, nothing’s guaranteed in life so do I want my legacy, my WWE stamp to be part of RETRIBUTION? Or do I want my stamp to be known as Mercedes that people know and love and the badass?’ And that’s really what it came down to. It was, ‘I need to be known as Mercedes.’ That’s what they grabbed me as, that is what we got my contract from is ‘Mercedes.’ That is what I want to leave as when it came to WWE.
Martinez’s final few months in the WWE were not easy for her. While she had a surprising Royal Rumble appearance, she suffered concussion months later after receiving a kick from Xia Li. After her release from WWE, she said that she never fit the mold anywhere else.
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