After last night’s WWE Payback pay-per-view (if you can still call them that?) was the debut of a brand new adult animated show that teamed WWE with Seth Green’s animation company, Stoopid Monkey, called Camp WWE. In this new animated comedy, we see the characters we know from the WWE roster reimagined as children at a camp run by the McMahon’s with counselors like Ric Flair and Sgt. Slaughter. The first episode sees young John Cena becoming home sick and the camp has to do everything they can to cheer him up before “homesickness” spreads and the camp is forced to shut down.
Featuring the voices of Vince McMahon, Ric Flair, and Sgt. Slaughter along with a great cast of voice actors to portray the wrestlers as kids, the show does a great job of portraying the characters as kids and not the actual wrestlers who played these characters as kids. Austin is flipping the bird, his F-U reflex, and the Undertaker is that Goth kid who would actually be happy to hear his folks died. McMahon is somewhat of a show stealer as his own lack of experience behind the microphone leads to some hysterical line readings. Flair himself is a natural behind the microphone and is one of the great characters on the show as well. Sarge, who with his past on GI Joe, should have the most experience actually has the least lines but is used in a great way we all loved as the “Sarge Protocol.”
There are several other shows on the network as well that I wish they would keep up with more instead of posting episodes inconsistently. Shows like Table for 3, Ride Along, and Legends with JBL suffer from not knowing when another episode is coming because they air so sporadically. However, the Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness airs like clockwork every Monday after RAW. If they could keep that kind of consistency with all their shows or at least let us know when “seasons” are going on break or finale, it would make the shows seem more complete. Make Legends with JBL air the first Friday of every month, it allows more time to shoot episodes and you have plenty of time. Ride Along should be pretty easy to shoot considering the topic happens multiple times a week. Make it bi-weekly if it’s that hard!
All that complaining out of the way, I can say all that because I really do LOVE these shows they’ve created and want to see more of it. Starting with Edge and Christian Show that totally blah blah blah you know what it is! The guys deliver a type of sketch/variety show in their signature comedic styling that will have wrestling fans dying with laughter and even non-wrestling fans chuckling at their antics. I’ve loved every episode so far so I really hope that this one gets brought back for another season and that the damned Gobbely Gooker finally meets his match in Edge & Christian!
Table for 3 continues to be a favorite of mine with a brand new episode just appearing on demand recently called the Horsemen featuring Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. The premise of the show is having 3 wrestlers sit down for a meal and discuss their careers and what they have in common. Past episodes included The New Day, Former IC Champs, Former Kings of the Ring, Former WCW Champions, etc. You get a lot great stories from the wrestlers pasts and in the IC champs episode you can see Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler make fun of Ryback!
Ride Along is another show that could be more frequent but is always entertaining. I even tolerated the Miz when he rode with Ziggler! The show is a great way to see the wrestlers unwinding and having a little fun after shows when they are sure to still be on an adrenaline kick. My ONLY complaint about the show was during the episode when R-Truth rides with Renee Young and Summer Rae that Summer is on her phone the entire time she is DRIVING. Now in a lot of these episodes you see people checking their GPS but Summer is clearly doing more than that and I think it’s a dangerous representation to send to potentially younger viewers. Except for that one thing, Ride Along is a great show to see guys like the Usos/Team Bad riding together, Ambrose and Reigns, and the New Day as well!
Legends with JBL is another show that only has one mark against it and that is how inconsistently it airs but so far with a two parter with Eric Bischoff, episodes with Road Dogg Jesse James, Michael “P.S.” Hayes, and his APA Tag Team partner Ron Simmons. The interview show is great because JBL is someone who does not worry about asking questions that may be personal or controversial but he is certainly good enough at his job to keep his guest moving and talking without pulling back from a topic.
One show that WWE network has pulled off amazingly is it’s NXT focused show, Breaking Ground. The show aired every week (+1), had a great story with compelling stories (+1) and even had a season finale with promise of a return. (+2) In my eyes, Breaking Ground is the show that everyone with the network should be watching to see the up and coming stars of NXT, some who don’t even make it, and even has the incredible William Shatner narrating the series.
With all this I think the WWE Network is finally finding it’s footing after being around a few years now and is creating great original content. The only thing is, and I will repeat this until it is fixed, that they need to get more consistent with the airing of their programming or at least give us a better idea of when things will air, not just “oh we happened to get this one done, so let’s air it.” When you have this many people paying to subscribe, and this many people wanting original content, they will put up with choppy PPVs (another network program) to have that great new content.