Right from the TV-MA disclaimer, it’s apparent Camp WWE is unlike anything the sports entertainment juggernaut has ever broadcast.
That’s exactly what Seth Green and the rest of the team of Stoopid Buddy Stoodios were going for when they initially pitched the project. Now Camp WWE will be available exclusively on WWE Network video-on-demand, right after the Payback live event on Sunday, May 1.
“I think the idea for this was giving them an opportunity to do something they can’t typically do with the brand, especially in any of the live-action programming,” Green says. “So they wanted something that was going to be a driver not only for the audience that already loves this content, but also for people who need a new access point to it.”
The adult animated series features WWE superstars as children staying at a summer camp run by Vince McMahon, a character voiced by the beloved chairman and CEO himself. Rounding out the staff: Hall of Famers Ric Flair and Sgt. Slaughter, who also lend their voice talents to the show. Teenage versions of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H serve as junior counselors. Then there are the cast of campers, which include “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Bella Twins, The Undertaker, John Cena and many others.
Green, a big WWE fan, relished the notion of collaborating with the company. “We love the characters so much,” he says.
“Aaron Blitzstein, who is the head writer, and I know this world pretty well. So it’s in good hands. Anyone who would be a legacy character would be an adult. We just figured they would be played by the real people if possible. Then all the kids would be voice actors since they are supposed to be children. There was the opportunity to really use Vince, and we’ve created the means to get actual Triple H on as Triple H’s dad Quadruple H. Having those kind of elements in it has been awesome.”
Green has a successful track record in the world of animation with a resume that includes Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken. He enjoyed expanding his creative talents in the WWE environment.
“They have been very open to suggestion,” he says. “The company has got specific ideas for the characters and the universe, but they have also been tremendously open to our ideas and what we think is the funniest.”
Camp WWE will no doubt attract dedicated members of the WWE audience. But the character nuances and the use of elements within the product make it a fun watch for everyone (Ric Flair is very much Ric Flair, only with an unhealthy love of bears and inanimate objects), and the humor is delivered in a way that it can appeal to a broader demographic.
“I think the fans of the WWE universe are open to a particular type of content and entertainment that other fans of things like Archer or South Park are not,” Green says. “And yet those fans are missing out on an incredible universe of characters. It rivals Marvel. You can expand this into all kinds of territories. So the animated stuff gives us the opportunity to tell the kinds of stories you just can’t tell in live action. This is a different opportunity to target.
“I think people are going to like this show,” Green continues. “I think people who have never even considered this universe are going to find this show funny. I keep saying I don’t think women are prepared for how deeply they are going to fall in love with cartoon Vince McMahon.”
It’s tough for Green to choose a favorite character. However, the camper imagining of WWE’s franchise player does especially resonate with him.
“In real life, I love John Cena,” Green says.
“It was so important for me and Aaron to do justice to him because Cena is a very complicated persona. He is a hero. He is this unstoppable hero, and as a result, it’s almost gotten the backlash in the live stuff. People can’t decide if they love him for being awesome or if they are mad at him for being infallible and for always having a great attitude and for always being there to pull you out of the mud. So doing that in kid form, it makes me happy. Especially when you see the second episode, you will fall even more in love with him. Nobody in the camp likes him. He is like, ‘If you need to hate me, that’s cool. But I’m here for you.’”
Feedback from the superstars portrayed in Camp WWE is starting to trickle in. Green says the response seems positive.
“The impression I get is everyone wants to be involved,” he says.
“Everybody wants to see what their cartoon version is like. I don’t know how much of the episodes everyone has seen, but our impression is everybody is excited about it. You get leeway in an animated show you just don’t get in live action, especially with athletes and performers at this level. They love the opportunity to be silly and playful and be funny.”
The younger Seth Green probably couldn’t have imagines his grown-up self working with WWE in such a capacity — although he would have loved to attend Camp WWE.
“I’m old school,” Green says.
“I got into it, I guess, when Mr. T was in the Rocky movie, and then he and Hulk Hogan were teaming at WrestleMania. So that was my access point; that pointed me to the live show. Then as the original WWE superstars arose, it was Roddy Piper for me. Piper was so unique and disruptive and uncontrollable and constantly getting in trouble. That really just felt like me at the time. I’ve had so much energy. I was so weird and misunderstood.
“I thought Piper was so unapologetic, and that was really inspiring,” Green continues. “So I love the stuff early on. My memories of Vince McMahon are so old, and then watching his evolution over the years has been really cool. To see how he has been able to sustain this thing for this long and so strong. So for me as a fan, it’s awesome for me to get to do this. I selfishly love getting to make this show. I can’t believe the s— they are letting us do. I really just can’t.”
- Watch the premiere of Camp WWE after the Payback live event Sunday, May 1 on WWE Network. New subscribers get the first month free.
- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.