Review: John Cena gets homesick in first episode of ‘Camp WWE’

Vince McMahon’s plan to keep John Cena from starting a homesickness epidemic by telling him how dangerous it is to be at home backfires when the young camper runs away to try and save his family in the “No Place Like Camp” episode of the new WWE Network animated series.

Chaos ensues when McMahon leaves the camp – bow and arrow in hand – to hunt down Cena. While the camp goes on lockdown to prevent further run away campers, McMahon’s daughter and Triple H hatch a plan to try and cure the remaining campers of their homesickness.

Along the way there are jokes – most about McMahon – and profanity that feels forced for the purposes of living up to its adult-oriented billing.

As someone whose familiarity with the professional wrestling circuit goes only as far as the early ’90s, the appearance of Sgt. Slaughter and Ric Flair adds a layer of familiarity but doesn’t really help make more sense of the show. Perhaps wrestling fans familiar with the characters and the self-deprecating humor of the man in charge of it all will have an easier time of embracing it.

The introduction to the camp and the show starts with two boys with their dad in a station wagon arriving at the camp entrance – a tree with McMahon’s face carved into and his wide open mouth the gate. McMahon’s voice over the PA welcomes the car. “Welcome to Camp WWE, the single greatest outdoor adventure of a lifetime; a wonderland of friendship and adventure. From hiking and canoeing to singing around the campfire I guarantee every camper is provided the safest most nurturing environment imagineable…” Having heard enough, the dad drives forward and McMahon’s voice says, “I’m not done talking a**hole” and the teeth come down to crush the front of the car.

campwweepisode1

Welcome to Camp WWE, where the director’s ego is all that matters.

The scene then cuts to McMahon in his office drinking his own branded energy drink – McMahonade, “That’s Good Me!” – and digging into cookies from care packages he’s confiscated from campers. While scanning through surveillance footage of the camp, McMahon notices Cena has early signs of homesickness and sends his counselors, Triple H and daughter Stephanie to take care of the situation.

After Triple H and Stephanie fail, McMahon enlists Ric Flair to show Cena how much fun he can have at camp. Instead of showing him how fun camp is, Ric gets distracted by a rock, a bear and a tire swing and does just the opposite. McMahon’s instructional film McMahon Co. Films Presents Home Is Terrible is the final convincing factor for Cena to leave.

When McMahon catches up to Cena, thanks in part to a pill that turns into a speed boat and a giraffe, he does finally convince him to come back to camp. When they do get back to camp they find it on fire, which Sgt. Slaughter springs into action to promptly put out.

With the day saved, Sgt. Slaughter prepares a warm bath as the credits roll.

Observations

– R-Truth’s care package from home was supposed to have Who Shot Kennedy? coloring books in it. “How am I supposed to have fun without my Who Shot Kennedy coloring books?” he says to bunkmate Big Show. Though not a Who Shot Kennedy coloring book, there was an anti-JFK coloring book produced in the ’60s.

– Triple H tells Cena that crying is only for two occasions, the first day of kindergarten and at the end of E.T. He then inexplicably quotes Godfather II: “I know it was you Fredo, you broke my heart, you broke my heart, you broke my heart.”

– After nothing else works, Triple H tries to cure the campers’ homesickness by telling them that their parents died. R-Truth wants to know how they died and Triple H tells him that there was a serial killer who wore a hockey mask and he chopped his parents up with a weed wacker. “That don’t make no damn sense,” R-Truth says.

– Sgt. Slaughter lists the things he needs to buy at the supermarket and he prepares his bath. “Is it weird that I buy my socks from the supermarket?” he asks himself.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I’m the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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