Camp WWE is Coming to The Network
USA Today – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and John Cena are superstars in a pro wrestling ring, but Seth Green is on a mission to make their kid selves just as entertaining while toasting marshmallows and driving grownups crazy.
The actor and longtime wrestling fan is reimagining grapplers as 8-year-old boys and girls at summer camp in the adult animated seriesCamp WWE. The show premieres on demand May 1 on the WWE Network streaming service.
Green and his team at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios regularly tackle pop culture with series such as Robot Chicken and SuperMansion, but with Camp WWE, Green says, “getting to introduce these characters to a different audience (and) a new generation in a way they’ve never seen before is like a unique kind of privilege for me.”
The summer camp is headed up by Vince McMahon — with the WWE chairman, president and CEO voicing himself — though he’s an even more over-the-top persona than in the ring, as he rides giraffes and takes swigs from McMahonade. His daughter Stephanie McMahon and Triple H are 15-year-old camp counselors, while “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Sgt. Slaughter are activity supervisors for the kids.
“Everybody can relate to the concept of being at camp,” Green says, “and it gives us an age to explore these characters that you’d never get to see.”
Most of the cast consists of actors playing young versions of current superstars likeRoman Reigns, Sasha Banks, Kevin Owens, Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins and theUndertaker. Yet Green’s been able to snag Flair, Slaughter and Jake “The Snake” Roberts to voice their own animated characters.
“It’s all pinch-me moments,” Green says. “I just calm myself enough that I can do the job I’ve been brought there to do. When you get the opportunity to work with your heroes, you want to make sure you’re doing your best.”
While WWE weekly programming such as Monday Night Raw (which Green hosted in 2009) tends more toward PG-rated, family-friendly fare, the goal of Camp WWE was to do something for more mature audiences that feels like a South Park or Archer,according to Green. So Vince McMahon lets loose with the four-letter words, and little Steve Austin — just like his real-life counterpart — is fond of giving middle-finger salutes.
But Green wants to showcase the in-ring personas fans love in a completely new and nuanced light. For example, instead of the animated Big Show being played as oafish, “we’ve made him a very complicated character full of intellectual curiosity and questions about the universe.”
He also had fun crafting the cartoon take on Cena, a champion and winner loved by many but who also gets “Cena sucks!” chants every time the wrestler takes the WWE stage.
“We wanted to play with the can-do spirit of an 8-year-old who always has a shoulder for you to cry on and always has some encouraging message but also just gets annoying,” Green explains. “He’s great at everything in the show but the other campers are like, ‘Ah, John, you know none of us like you, right?’ ”
One of Green’s favorite aspects of Camp WWE? Just getting to work closely with McMahon in a creative fashion.
“He takes directions very, very well,” Green says. “He’s got a keen sense of understanding the comedy and the emotional disposition.
“I don’t think girls between 14 and 29 are prepared for how much they’re going to love Vince McMahon after they watch this cartoon.”
The fact that Seth Green is behind it gives me hope for Camp WWE. So far the reviews of those who have seen it have been positive as well. The WWE Network needs more original content and this is an idea, that if done right, could really flourish.
The surprising thing is that it seems to be geared to a more mature audience, seemingly abandoning the PG model that we’ve grown accustomed to. Mature cartoons with a raunchy edge are very popular and the concept of these larger than life personalities as children could be fun.
The one negative I potentially see is when does the booking agenda creep into Camp WWE? Are we going to see Roman Reigns as a child delivering his ever-so-funny “suffering suckatash” sort of lines? For the show’s sake, I hope not. With the seemingly endless amount of Superstars of the past signed to Legends deal, it’ll also be fun to see just how many of them make it into the show (assuming it gets past season one).