Rotunda as Irwin R. Schyster in 1994
|Birth name||Lawrence Michael Rotunda|
March 30, 1958 |
St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.
|Alma mater||Syracuse University|
|Spouse(s)||Stephanie Windham (m. 1976)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Irwin R. Schyster
|Billed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Billed weight||248 lb (112 kg)|
|Billed from||Washington, D.C.
(as Irwin R. Schyster)
|Trained by||The Destroyer|
Lawrence Michael Rotunda (born March 30, 1958) is an American retired professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling in the 1980s and 1990s under the ring names Mike Rotunda, Irwin R. Schyster and V.K. Wallstreet. Over the course of his career, Rotunda held championships including the NWA World Tag Team Championship, NWA World Television Championship and WWF World Tag Team Championship.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Professional wrestling career
- 2.1 Early career (1981–1984)
- 2.2 World Wrestling Federation (1984–1986)
- 2.3 American Wrestling Association (1986)
- 2.4 Florida Championship Wrestling (1987)
- 2.5 Jim Crockett Promotions (1987–1991)
- 2.6 World Wrestling Federation
- 2.7 World Championship Wrestling
- 2.8 New Japan Pro Wrestling (1997–1999)
- 2.9 All Japan Pro Wrestling (2000–2003)
- 2.10 Retirement (2004–present)
- 3 Personal life
- 4 In wrestling
- 5 Championships and accomplishments
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Rotunda attended Newark Valley High School in Newark Valley, New York. He participated in amateur wrestling, becoming a sectional champion in the 215 lb class in 1976, and placing 4th at the New York State Championships. After graduating from high school, Rotunda attended Syracuse University. He competed in football and amateur wrestling, becoming Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association champion in 1981 in the heavyweight division and becoming a letterwinner in 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1981.
Professional wrestling career
Early career (1981–1984)
After graduating from Syracuse University, Rotunda traveled to Germany where he trained as a professional wrestler under The Destroyer. He debuted in 1981, wrestling for promotions including Lutte Internationale, Jim Crockett Promotions and Championship Wrestling from Florida.
World Wrestling Federation (1984–1986)
Rotunda and Windham joined the World Wrestling Federation as The U.S. Express in 1984, during which time he would be billed as Mike Rotundo rather than Rotunda. They won the WWF World Tag Team Championship twice, first from Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis in January 1985. The US Express' most notable feud was with The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, to whom they lost the title at the first WrestleMania. The US Express regained the belts in June 1985, but lost them two months later to Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine. Windham left the WWF soon after.
Rotunda continued to wrestle in singles matches until he left the WWF himself, in early 1986. He briefly returned to the WWF in the fall of 1986 to team with "Golden Boy" Dan Spivey as a new version of "The U.S. Express", but they were more or less used as a jobber team against up and coming teams such as Demolition in house shows. They were not considered top contenders.
American Wrestling Association (1986)
The U.S. Express reunited in the AWA to wrestle at WrestleRock 86 on April 20, 1986, defeating The Fabulous Ones. The team did not stay long as Windham left the AWA very shortly after debuting. Rotunda stayed around for a few more months with little success.
Florida Championship Wrestling (1987)
Jim Crockett Promotions (1987–1991)
Later in the year, Rotunda joined the National Wrestling Alliance affiliate Jim Crockett Promotions, where he lingered at mid-card level as a face before turning heel and joining Kevin Sullivan's Varsity Club, a group of wrestlers with amateur wrestling credentials. Rotunda began bickering with fellow Varsity Club member Rick Steiner, a graduate of the University of Michigan, over which of the two had a superior alma mater. This in turn led to the two arguing over which of them was the superior wrestler.
Rotunda won the NWA World Television Championship from Nikita Koloff in January 1988, and subsequently gave his Florida Heavyweight title to Steiner. He then began a feud with Jimmy Garvin, because Sullivan wanted Garvin's wife Precious. Steiner left the group and began feuding with Rotunda, the enemies trading the Television Championship before Rotunda lost it to Sting.
"Dr. Death" Steve Williams and Dan Spivey joined the Varsity Club in late 1988, and Rotunda teamed with Williams to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship from The Road Warriors. Referee Theodore Long turned heel during the match and administered a fast three count, enabling Rotunda and Williams to overcome the champions. Long went on to become a manager following the controversial officiating.
In May 1989, Williams and Rotunda were stripped of the title and, shortly after Sullivan and Rotunda concluded a feud with the Steiner Brothers, Rotunda briefly left the NWA. He returned in 1990 as a face, using the maritime gimmick Captain Mike Rotunda. He formed a "crew" (consisting of Abdullah the Butcher and Norman the Lunatic) and feuded with Kevin Sullivan's new stable, "Sullivan's Slaughterhouse" (Cactus Jack, Buzz Sawyer, and Bam Bam Bigelow).
In mid-1990, Rotunda turned heel again and became Michael Wallstreet, with Alexandra York (and her computer) as his manager. They founded The York Foundation. The two claimed to know (via computer analysis) how to win each match and how long it would take for Wallstreet to become victorious. In this brief run he was undefeated and often a timer was present onscreen to further the duo's claim. The partnership ended when Rotunda left the NWA for a new role in the WWF, in early 1991.
World Wrestling Federation
Singles competition (1991–1992)
Rotunda returned to the WWF in April 1991, becoming Irwin R. Schyster, abbreviated to I.R.S.. Schyster had a heel gimmick as a former IRS tax collector from Washington, D.C., harassing wrestlers and fans as "tax cheats" and scolding them to "pay their fair share". For example, when wrestling in New Hampshire, he would get on the microphone and criticize the fans there for not having to pay a state income tax. To further add to this persona, one of his finishing moves was called The Write-Off (i.e., a flying clothesline to an oncoming opponent).
He made his pay-per-view debut at SummerSlam 1991, defeating Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. Schyster also made it to the finals of the 1991 King of the Ring tournament, defeating The Berzerker, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Jerry Sags before losing to Bret Hart in the final match. He then had a short-lived feud with Big Bossman in the fall of 1991. This culminated in a 6-man elimination tag team match at Survivor Series, where he teamed with The Natural Disasters in a losing effort against Bossman and The Legion of Doom (the former Road Warriors). In January 1992, he competed in the Royal Rumble match entering at number 18 and lasted 28 minutes, giving him the third longest run behind Roddy Piper and winner Ric Flair.
Money Inc. (1992–1993)
In February 1992, Schyster formed the tag team Money Inc. with Ted DiBiase; the two won the WWF World Tag Team Championship together three times. Money Inc.'s first title reign was at the expense of The Legion of Doom, making Rotunda the only wrestler to twice defeat them for a tag team title. They then feuded with the Natural Disasters, losing the titles to them and then regaining them a few months later. Finally, Money Inc. lost the tag team title to The Steiner Brothers twice. Ted DiBiase retired from wrestling to become a commentator in the summer of 1993, resulting in Schyster going back to singles competition.
Million Dollar Corporation (1994–1995)
In the beginning of 1994, IRS feuded with Razor Ramon, challenging him for the Intercontinental Championship at the Royal Rumble. Though Schyster had seemingly won the title after interference by Shawn Michaels, a second referee restarted the match, which Ramon won. Schyster then feuded with Tatanka, whom he accused of failing to pay a gift tax on a "sacred headdress" he received from Chief Jay Strongbow.
In mid-1994 he joined his former partner DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation, often teaming with fellow member Bam Bam Bigelow, in an unsuccessful effort to regain tag team gold. Schyster later refocused on singles wrestling. His feud with The Undertaker included Schyster repossessing the headstone of a child, and interfering in a Casket Match between The Undertaker and Yokozuna. When the two eventually squared off at the 1995 Royal Rumble, the Undertaker was victorious following a chokeslam, but Schyster stole his urn after the match. I.R.S. then competed less frequently on WWF TV, his final two appearances being a loss to Savio Vega in a King of the Ring qualifying match in June 1995, and as a lumberjack the following month at In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks. Rotunda then left the WWF.
World Championship Wrestling
Debut and New World Order (1995–1997)
Rotunda returned to WCW in September 1995. On the debut of WCW Monday Nitro, which aired on September 4, 1995, he was introduced as Michael Wallstreet, but by the next episode he was known as V.K. Wallstreet (the "V.K." an allusion to Vincent Kennedy McMahon) with announcer Eric Bischoff asking Bobby Heenan on-air why his name had suddenly changed. Rotunda used the name for nearly a year, stuck in a lower midcard position. The highlight of this run came at the 1996 Battlebowl, where he teamed with Jim Duggan and made it to the semifinals, losing to Dick Slater and Earl Robert Eaton. Eventually his name returned to Michael Wallstreet and Mr. Wallstreet and, in December 1996, he joined the nWo after being offered a membership by former tag team partner Ted DiBiase. While in the nWo, Wallstreet remained in the low midcard. His highest profile match in this period was a loss to Jeff Jarrett at nWo Souled Out in January 1997. On the April 21 episode of Nitro, Wallstreet was forced out of the nWo when his nWo contract was declared null and void by James J. Dillon, due to his pre-existing WCW contract. Despite this, he appeared with the nWo weeks later on the May 5 Nitro, before finally accepting Dillon's ruling and leaving the group. Although no longer an nWo member, he openly expressed his contempt for WCW (frequently wearing anti-WCW T-shirts to the ring). In the summer of 1997, he left for New Japan Pro Wrestling, which had a business relationship with WCW.
Varsity Club reunion and departure (1999–2000)
He returned (as Mike Rotunda) to WCW at Starrcade 1999, reforming the Varsity Club with Rick Steiner and Kevin Sullivan to team with Jim Duggan against The Revolution (Shane Douglas, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, and Asya). His team lost when they abandoned Duggan during the match. In early 2000, he took part in a "Lethal Lottery" tournament for the vacated WCW World Tag Team Championship, paired with Buzzkill. The two defeated Dean Malenko and Konnan in the first round, but lost in the quarterfinals to the Harris Brothers. Rotunda left WCW in the spring of 2000. He returned to Japan and also made some appearances for the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (1997–1999)
Rotunda jumped to New Japan Pro Wrestling in the summer of 1997 (as Michael Wallstreet), where he joined nWo Japan. He toured full-time with New Japan, and was used in the midcard. Like many gaijin, he wasn't used at Dome Shows and was left off New Japan's top tournaments such as the G1 Climax and the Super Grade Tag League tournaments. Wallstreet did participate in two other tournaments. In May 1998, he teamed with Big Titan in a tournament for the vacant IWGP Tag Team Championship, losing in the first round to Kensuke Sasaki and Kazuo Yamazaki. In September 1998, he teamed with Scott Norton in a tournament to decide the #1 contenders for the WCW World Tag Team Championship. They made it to the semifinals, where they lost to eventual tournament winners Kensuke Sasaki and Yuji Nagata.
In 1999, Masahiro Chono left nWo Japan and formed a new group: Team 2000. Wallstreet and nWo Sting followed. Wallstreet, along with the rest of Team 2000, feuded with nWo Japan throughout 1999. In December, Rotunda left New Japan when he was called back to WCW.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (2000–2003)
Rotunda (as Mike Rotunda) joined All Japan Pro Wrestling in the summer of 2000, shortly after the Pro Wrestling Noah exodus. He reunited the Varsity Club, this time with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. The team won the 2000 World's Strongest Tag Determination League and also challenged for the World Tag Team Championship, against Taiyō Kea and Johnny Smith on February 24, 2001, but lost. In late 2001, Rotunda returned to Team 2000 as part of the All Japan branch and returned to New Japan for one match, on October 28, teaming with Chono to defeat Tencozy. Rotunda finished the year teaming with Williams in the 2001 World's Strongest Tag Determination League, which they finished in 5th place with 6 points.
In January 2002, Keiji Mutoh jumped to All Japan and eventually became the owner and president. With the arrival of Mutoh, a growing roster, and nagging injuries, Rotunda returned to the midcard. He entered the 2002 Champion Carnival, finishing in 5th place with 3 points. Shortly after, he entered the Giant Baba Six Man Tag Team Tournament, teaming with Steve Williams and Yoji Anjo. The team made it to the semifinals, losing to Genichiro Tenryu, Arashi, and Nobutaka Araya. On July 20, 2002, Rotunda and Williams entered the Stan Hansen Cup 4-Way, and lost to Mike Barton and Jim Steele, Rotunda being pinned by Barton. In autumn, Rotunda and Williams entered the 2002 World's Strongest Tag Determination League, finishing in 4th place with 9 points. Rotunda left All Japan in early 2003, after wrestling on the New Year's Shining Series Tour.
Rotunda retired from wrestling to run a security company with his wife in 2004.
Rotunda was rehired by WWE as a road agent in 2006, and has made guest appearances as Irwin R. Schyster. One such appearance was on the August 6, 2007 edition of WWE Raw; Mr. McMahon was discussing his IRS troubles with Jonathan Coachman, and when the conversation ended, Rotunda lowered the paper covering his face (Financial Times) and revealed himself.
Rotunda appeared as I.R.S. on the December 10, 2007 15th Anniversary edition of Raw, winning a 15-man Battle Royal, only to be paid by his former tag team partner Ted DiBiase to eliminate himself and give DiBiase the win.
On the March 10, 2008 episode of Raw, The U.S. Express were to have a rematch from WrestleMania I against Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik. However, the match was interrupted before it could begin by diva Jillian Hall, who offered to sing "Born in the U.S.A." for them; she was given an airplane spin by Rotunda.
Rotunda appeared in the segment "Top Rope Theatre" on WWE.com, on February 19, 2009, talking to Kelly Kelly. In this exclusively online storyline, he played a heel character once again and his arch enemy was "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan.
I.R.S. appeared on the September 7, 2009 edition of "Raw," of which Bob Barker was the guest host. Rotunda was a contestant in a pricing game (similar to the "One Bid" qualifying segment of The Price Is Right) along with Santino Marella, Jillian Hall, and Chris Jericho, bidding on a "Best of SmackDown" DVD. Rotunda overbid $50.00 (including tax); the DVD's actual retail price was $18.99. Chris Jericho won the pricing game with a bid of $1.00 (as erroneously proclaimed by Bob Barker). I.R.S was, later that night, one of the contestants during the second round of the pricing game. A. J. Pierzynski of the Chicago White Sox filled in the vacated spot Chris Jericho held. This time the bid was for a travel package to WrestleMania XXVI in Glendale, Arizona. Rotunda bid $2,000.00 for the package. The actual retail price was $1,247.00, making Santino the winner after a bid of $1,200.00
On June 7, 2010, I.R.S appeared on Raw in a comedy segment. He announced he had taken Jerry Lawler's crown, because Lawler had not paid his taxes. On the June 28 Raw, he was one of the four people who entered the ring to celebrate Ricky Steamboat's career, but were attacked by the Nexus.
On the January 6, 2014 "Old School" episode of Raw, Irwin R. Schyster encountered Big E Langston on his way to a match and told him to pay his taxes, to which Langston smiled. Immediately prior, Langston walked past fellow Million Dollar Corporation members, Nikolai Volkoff and Ted DiBiase.
He continued work as a WWE road agent and was occasionally seen on TV.
Rotunda is married to Stephanie Rotunda (née Windham), the daughter of wrestler Blackjack Mulligan, and sister of wrestlers Barry and Kendall Windham. They have two sons, Windham and Taylor, who are professional wrestlers working for WWE under the ring names Bray Wyatt (former WWE Champion and former SmackDown Tag Team Champion) and Bo Dallas (former NXT Champion) respectively. The couple also has a daughter named Mika and two granddaughters named Cadyn and Kendyl.
- Finishing moves
- "Captain" Mike Rotunda
- Entrance music
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- Jim Crockett Promotions/World Championship Wrestling
- Maple Leaf Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #26 of the top 500 wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1994
- PWI ranked him #164 of the top 500 wrestlers during the PWI Years in 2003
- PWI ranked him #61 of the top 100 tag teams with Ted Dibiase during the PWI Years in 2003
- PWI ranked him #48 of the top 100 tag teams with Barry Windham during the PWI Years in 2003
- World Wrestling Federation
- The Million Dollar Corporation
- Money Inc.
- New World Order
- Team 2000
- The U.S. Express
- The Varsity Club
- Tim Hornbaker (3 January 2017). Legends of Pro Wrestling: 150 Years of Headlocks, Body Slams, and Piledrivers. Skyhorse Publishing Company, Incorporated. ISBN 978-1-61321-875-4.
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- "Mike Rotunda". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
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- "Irwin R. Schyster". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
- Steve Pantaleo (24 March 2015). WWE Ultimate Superstar Guide. DK Publishing. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-241-23501-0.
- Kristian Pope (28 August 2005). Tuff Stuff Professional Wrestling Field Guide: Legend and Lore. Krause Publications. p. 384. ISBN 0-89689-267-0.
- Patric Laprade; Bertrand Hebert (14 March 2013). Mad Dogs, Midgets and Screw Jobs: The Untold Story of How Montreal Shaped the World of Wrestling. ECW Press. p. 1982. ISBN 978-1-77090-296-1.
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- "Pro Wrestling History". www.prowrestlinghistory.com. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- "PUROLOVE". www.purolove.com. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith [Champions from 14.01.2001 to 14.07.2001 / Successful title defenses: 3]". www.purolove.com. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "New Japan Pro-Wrestling - "SURVIVAL 2001"". www.purolove.com. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Real World Tag League 2001". www.purolove.com. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Champion Carnival 2002". www.purolove.com. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
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- Bernhardt, Jr., Chris (2009-06-12). "Hernando High alumni ready to hit the ring". Hernando Today. Archived from the original on 2009-08-15. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- "The final bell Longtime professional wrestler Mike Rotunda is ready to trade in the sport for full-time parenthood". SPTIMES.com. 2004-02-22. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- "Bray Wyatt's Wife Samantha Rotunda". Playerwags.com. October 19, 2014. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
- Shawn Armstrong. Wrestling Moves and Smashes Pocket Encyclopedia. Lulu.com. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-557-13462-5.
- "Jimmy Hart profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- James Dixon; Arnold Furious; Lee Maughan (17 December 2015). The Complete WWE Guide Volume Six. Lulu.com. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-326-50746-6.
- Florida Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Southern Heavyweight Title (Florida version) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA United States Tag Team Title (Florida version) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA World Tag Team Title (Mid-Atlantic/WCW) history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA/WCW World Television Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- NWA Canadian Television Title history At wrestling-titles.com
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-21. Retrieved 2009-03-10.