When the WWE Network launched in 2014, many where skeptical as to how it would work out. Would it just be a bunch of old wrestling matches from the 1940s to the 21st Century? Would it just be random segments and post Raw and Smackdown! interview shows? The big draw was that for $9.99 a month all the WWE Pay Per Views were included, which was far more reasonable than going through a cable provider and spending $65 for WrestleMania.
What the WWE Network truly is, is what the UFC Fight Pass can only aspire to be, a full blown, network with classic and original programming. One of which, is the new show premiering tonight following Payback called, Camp WWE, an animated series that makes Brickleberry look as tame as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Developed by Seth Green’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, and fronted by head writer, Aaron Blitzstein are what brought this animated series to fruition.
“I don’t think people are prepared for how Vince (McMahon) is giving in this world. I can say the same thing about Sgt. Slaughter, Ric Flair, Jack the Snake, Godfather and everyone else involved. We have constantly been encouraged to go for it,” said Blitzstein about working McMahon and the blessing given to them by the WWE.
Blitzstein who is known for having worked on Family Guy is also a WWE fan that dated back to the late 1970s. He was open to the WWE Legends when recording the series that if they felt a line would be better tailored to how their in ring persona would say it, that the legends were allowed to tweak those lines making the episode just that much more funny.
“One time, we were in a recording session with Vince (McMahon) where I had a line written for him and he looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘I’ll say that line even though it’s going TV-MA,’ I said, ‘I know you will!’ I just want to be careful in not going to TV-MA all the time. We want us to earn it, but Vince has been so incredible in supporting us and the tone of the show. He realizes it’s a loose extension of the Mr. McMahon character,” said Blitzstein about a particular camper that you have to hear McMahon deliver the line in the pilot.
Although, very tongue-in-cheek and at times over the top, like Ric Flair having intimate relations with a tire swing among other things while giving young John Cena a pep-talk, the guys from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios did not want to degrade the current roster by doing random and insulting things based on their physical appearances.
“We’ve been working largely with the network but both Seth (Green) and I have relationships with several Superstars that if we speak to them we can say, ‘Oh my gosh! Wait until you see such-in-such.’ As far as that on the friends level, it’s been incredible. No one has taken issue with a single thing we said or have shown them. There are things we can lean on and I think Ric Flair being Ric Flair, we will have fun with that. None of these characters are one note, for example Big Show, there isn’t a version of him eating all the time or doing big oafish things all the time, we didn’t want that, we want to really explore these characters in who they are, why they are who they are and earning those moments when someone curse or being silly or whatever. There is a lot more to these characters than people are expecting,’ said Blitzstein.
So far, there are five episodes ready to go with another fistful or so to follow later on this summer. The first episode will be On Demand via the WWE Network following Payback, with the following four episodes following Monday Night Raw for four consecutive weeks. Blitzstein confesses this is his Rushmore and having the freedom to put words into the mouths of Triple H, John Cena or the WWE Legends, puts him in awe. It helps that Blitzstein’s writers’ room was filled with talent from Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Archer, Community and SNL who love the WWE product or just knew how to make the show extra funny even if they weren’t familiar with sports entertainment.
The series features younger versions of The Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Bella Twins, R-Truth and so many more. Although, the younger characters aren’t voiced by their older selves, the voice actors capture the spirit of the superstars.
Camp WWE is loaded with one-liners and easter eggs that any WWE fan will watch repeatedly in trying to catch every joke they missed; probably because they were laughing too hard the first go around. Blitzstein and company deliver for the fans because they are fans. Camp WWE captures the spirit of the superstars in settings you would never normal find them in on television. That is the power of animation.