Today’s “Wow, how is that a real thing?” story from wrestling’s past comes to us, as so many of them do, from Eric Bischoff, current Executive Director of Smackdown, former President of WCW, and “maybe the single stupidest idiot that ever got into wrestling” if you ask Bret Hart (and I’m not saying you should). During the latest 83 Weeks podcast, Bischoff was reminded of Chowdaheads, a series of animated shorts that he commissioned for Monday Nitro, which were canceled before a single one could air, around the same time that he was removed from his job as WCW President in 1999. Interestingly, the cartoons were created by Eli Roth, who would go on to become famous for making grisly horror films like Cabin Fever, Hostel, and The Green Inferno.
Here (with transcript help from 411Mania) is what Eric Bischoff has to say about the whole thing:
That was really fun, and that was very unfortunate that that project never saw the light of day. And it wasn’t supposed to be produced by Jason Hervey and Mandalay, that was misreported. The producer of that was a young man who not too many people had heard of at that time, who went on to become one of the most successful directors in the horror movie genre, a young man by the name of Eli Roth. Eli Roth was from Boston, he grew up there. He was a big wrestling fan, and he loved animation. He had been dabbling in it for some time and had been doing some early things on the web, and things like that. He had this idea for a — and again, keep in mind, this is in the era of South Park and that whole animated comedy, adult thing was really getting off the ground at that time.
And Eli came to me with an idea for a series called Chowdaheads, I guess like you would say ‘Chowder’ if you were from Boston. But the characters were very, very cool. They were a group of young guys, animated characters, all from the Boston area who were very — you would know they were from Boston the first time you heard them speak. They were heavily accented, everything was ‘Oh, that’s wicked pissah, brother! Wicked pissah!’ Which I guess, ‘wicked pissah’ is a term that is kind of indigenous to the Boston area … but it really was funny. It was very smart, it was funny as hell. It fit the property, it was targeted toward our audience, so we wouldn’t have been going over their heads or shooting too low to the ground. It was really a great project, and I’m sorry it never saw the light of day. Eli Roth, however, went on to have a very successful career and is still enjoying it to this day.
Below is the first episode of Chowdaheads, which is now available via Facebook, and I can confirm that it is very much the kind of “edgy” cartoon people were making in 1999. Part of that is the casual homophobic humor, which was widespread in both wrestling and “adult” animation at the time. One of the main characters does have hair exactly like Ric Flair, though, so that’s something it has going for it. I feel like the moments of sudden violence do kind of point to Eli Roth’s future work, especially the gross un-commented-upon things that happen in every shot of the Coach character.