Exclusive Interview: Aaron Blitzstein discusses being the superfan behind Camp WWE
Seth Green may get top billing for producing Camp WWE, but he wasn’t the only WWE superfan molding the show behind the scenes.
A veteran TV presence whose writing credits include “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Riches” and “Family Guy,” and whose wrestling acumen has been cultivated by WWE since the late 1970s, Aaron Blitzstein proudly served as the showrunner for WWE Network’s first adult-oriented animated series. His working experience on “Family Guy” with Green opened the door to this dream job, but Blitzstein’s unrequited love of sports-entertainment truly made him the perfect choice for Camp WWE.
WWE.com recently caught up with Blitzstein to revisit his tenure on Camp WWE, his experience writing for WWE Legends he grew up idolizing and his defining moment as a wrestling fan.
WWE.COM: How did you first become involved with Camp WWE?
AARON BLITZSTEIN: Well, Seth Green reached out to me, as we both had a passion for WWE. The first time we sat in a room together, we just exploded with ideas on all the areas we can go with these campers and, knowing this is going to be TV-MA, we just couldn't wait to explore the possibilities. We felt like this was a great opportunity for us to give the fans a version of WWE that they've always wanted but could never get. We're able to explore storylines such as "What would it be like if John Cena were just to decide he was bad one day?" That's something that I think all fans would love to see.
WWE.COM: One of Camp WWE’s essential elements is that the show itself is adult-oriented. Did you feel there were any boundaries as to where you could go, or did you just let loose?
BLITZSTEIN: WWE encouraged us constantly to go for it. You know, just have fun and let these characters go loose in this setting. But at the same time, we often didn't want to just be lewd for the sake of being lewd. We didn't want to just have immature jokes. We wanted those moments earned. We also wanted to temper that a bit and not just go nuts for the sake of "we thought we could."
WWE.COM: Do you have a golden era of wrestling where you watched feverishly?
BLITZSTEIN: I think I have always watched feverishly. This has always been must-see television through ups and downs, whatever the popular opinion may be.
For me, I grew up on ’70s era, like mid-late ’70s. I remember going back to the old arena TV studio back in the ’70s and that just got me so excited. I watched it with family on Saturday mornings. Going to live events and seeing Dusty Rhodes and Blackjack Mulligan, it was just incredible.
WWE.COM: Any moments in particular stand out in your memory?
Seeing Larry Zbyszko betray Bruno Sammartino as a kid was just everything. It changed my life
BLITZSTEIN: I can think of really important moments that happened, that took place when I was a kid that really kind of hooked me for life. Seeing Larry Zbyszko betray Bruno Sammartino as a kid was just everything. It changed my life, more or less. I mean, I couldn't believe it. I just dove right in. I think that was really kind of the most pivotal moment as a fan.
WWE.COM: How was it for you as a wrestling fan to be in the position to kind of put the WWE Legends in outrageous situations for Camp WWE?
BLITZSTEIN: Well, Seth Green and I are in these recordings; we direct all WWE talent side-by-side. I know it definitely happened once with Vince McMahon, and with Ric Flair also, where on a piece of paper, on my script, I wrote to Seth and put it in front of him: "I love you for hiring me for this job."
Before Sgt. Slaughter walked in for the first record, we were told from a WWE exec, "So, Sarge is here early today and he just wants to do a great job for you guys. So if you're not getting it, just tell him." The concern that he genuinely had that he wanted to do the best job ever comes through in every episode.
WWE.COM: As far as the current Superstars, how did you go about reinterpreting them as a 9-year-old camper at Camp WWE?
BLITZSTEIN: Well it's interesting because we haven't had any one-on-one conversations with any of the WWE Superstars. However, they're represented by WWE in every call we have with them. So, when we determine an outline for any episode, or a script, the first draft of a script of any episode, we would get notes back saying, "We're not sure Mark Henry would say this" or “This sounds more Brie than Nikki.”
We knew all of these characters intimately from Triple H to John Cena and The Rock. We've lived with these characters as fans for such a long time.
We knew all of these characters intimately from Triple H to John Cena and The Rock. We've lived with these characters as fans for such a long time. So we know them intimately, but then, we want to make it funny as hell.
WWE.COM: Did you have any particular geek out moments during the production that you can recall?
BLITZSTEIN: We worked with Triple H, because he's in an episode as his own father, Quadruple H. It was so incredible to work with him. I would say Triple H had as much, if not more, input on that character than anyone, and it was so helpful. I mean, he was amazing. He was amazing. That record we did with Triple H will go down as one of the most fun things and he just nailed it. We just absolutely geeked out on that.
WWE.COM: Are you plotting ideas for a possible season two?
BLITZSTEIN: Yes. We are very excited at the possibility that there could be a season two, and we're already talking about the potential of our characters. There are so many more Superstars that we haven't even tapped into yet, like The New Day, Charlotte. I mean, it's endless.
WWE.COM: Last question: Seth has been outspoken about his wrestling fandom, and you obviously went into your bonafides during this interview. Who's the bigger fan?
BLITZSTEIN: There's no question I am. I don't care; you can write that.
The first season of Camp WWE is available for streaming now on WWE Network.