The short-form comedy series Camp WWE has been a hit on the WWE Network. The TV-MA animated series, featuring a bunch of WWE Superstars as kids in a summer camp, recently wrapped up the first season with 5 episodes of 22 minutes each.
Produced by Seth Green and Aaron Blitzstein from Stoopid Buddy Studios, the show has seen the likes of Vince McMahon, Sgt. Slaughter, Ric Flair, The Godfather, and others doing their own voice overs while other voice over artists took over the voices of the WWE Superstars at camp.
Voicing the characters of John Cena and The Rock is Ashley Bornancin, a young female actress, writer, and voice over artist. Yes, when you hear young Cena and young Rocky on Camp WWE, it’s really a woman’s voice behind it.
“I love when people on Twitter are so surprised that it’s me. I was a bit scared fans would be like, ‘why is it a girl?’ but the response has been amazing,” Bornancin told us. “I think it’s just really cool that the voice over world allows for that room to play and for you to really be anything you want to be.”
Bornancin admitted she wasn’t the biggest WWE fan until the gig came along although she was familiar with both John Cena and The Rock as her brother and father watched WWE growing up. After she auditioned for the roles, Ashley said she really dove into the WWE world and was “fascinated by this entire universe they created.”
But how did a casual WWE fan ended up getting to voice two of the most popular WWE Superstars in the history of the business? “My agents sent it to me and I sent in an MP3. I originally auditioned for Stephanie McMahon and the Bella Twins and ended up coming in for a callback with producers,” Ashley said.
Bornancin laughed when she was told to try out for The Rock, figuring she would never get a character like that. She went to a voice over studio to record the track and sent it in as requested.
“When I came in for callbacks for The Rock, they said, ‘Can you do other boy voices?’” she said. It wasn’t the first time she auditioned for male voices as she’s done that kind of work before. “So I took a stab at doing John Cena, whom they described as an All-American do-gooder type of camper that always sees the glass half full, but is so lovable the other campers find him annoying. I said, ‘Oh, that is basically me in real life!’”
To her surprise, not only she got The Rock, but her agents came back and told her she will be doing John Cena as well, calling it the “best surprise ever.” Ashley said she loved both characters and seeing the final animated work just warmed her heart, crediting the great animation behind the show.
Bornancin did not meet any of the WWE Legends who did their own voice overs as she recorded her parts solo with producers Aaron Blitzstein, Seth Green, and the team. “Sometimes we would play clips of the other characters. But they are so good at recreating each of the scenes for you, that recording solo is easier than you’d think.”
She described everyone at Stoopid Buddy Studios and the WWE Network as the best and a joy to work with them. “They are just so kind and fun, and we have so much fun improvising. They say if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life again. I can tell you that’s exactly what that team does. They make work so fun,” she added.
The fact that everyone on the team loved WWE helped as well, providing hilarious scripts from “the coolest people with creative genius minds.”
With season 1 already done, Ashley was noncommittal when we asked about another season. “Everyone keeps asking on Twitter. You will just have to wait and see,” she said with a laugh.
Apart from acting, directing, writing, and doing voice overs, Ashley is also active in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at a young age and she was still a teenager when the news hit the family.
“It was incredibly tough to go through as a teenager and young adult – the support from my family, especially my dad, and our faith in God and His ultimate plan for us has really been the #1 thing that has gotten us through these past 10 years of her having the disease,” Ashley explained.
She said the whole process has been a roller coaster of emotions and although it’s still very difficult, they try to make the best out of the situation.
“I just love more than anything taking my mom to the movies, and seeing her light up when I do voice overs. It’s difficult for her to do things like walk, talk, etc., but when she sees a really fun TV show or movie, she just lights up… which honestly keeps me going,” she said.
The latest movie the two saw together was The Rock’s Central Intelligence. “She thought it was hysterical. I was like – that’s me!”
Living with somebody who has Alzheimer’s is a tough, long, emotional battle and you go through different stages of grief. “But the more she became dependent on me and I realized it’s truly not her fault, the less mad I was, and the more my heart just yearned to help her,” Ashley said, adding that it took her around five years to accept the reality of it all.
Despite everything, the future is looking bright for Ashley. “I have had final callbacks for a number of big shows, and working consistently every day on my craft and producing my own work,” she said. “I love television and comedy, and I see myself just continuing to build a career in that world, but also writing and producing.”
Ashley mentioned that along with her writing partner, Don DiPetta, she wrote, directed and created a series which is titled ‘We’re NOT Friends,’ that is now getting the attention of agents.
“To be able to act and write is the ultimate world I love to live in and do every day. We are also working with the strong production team with Sylvia Versace at AwesomeSauce to create a feature length documentary on Alzheimer’s,” she concluded.