Mike Rotunda

Mike Rotunda

Mike Rotunda Profile

Sometimes we called him Rotundo and other times Rotunda, but the fact remains that Lawrence Michael Rotunda was born in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 30, 1958.

Enjoying amateur wrestling in his formative years, Rotunda went on to Syracuse University where he excelled at both football and wrestling, lettering 4 different times.

After being trained by the legendary masked wrestler “The Destroyer”, Rotunda’s pro wrestling career began in some of the National Wrestling Alliance’s (NWA) territories such as Championship Wrestling from Florida and Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP).

In 1984, Rotunda was signed to the World Wrestling Federation as “Mike Rotundo” and was placed in a partnership by Blackjack Mulligan’s son, and soon to be brother-in-law, Barry Windham. Collectively called the “US Express”, these babyfaces were able to capture the WWF Tag Team titles from “Redneck” Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis (in his pre-Adorable days).

The Express would feud with the dastardly Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff who defeated the Express at the inaugural WrestleMania event when Sheik struck Windham with the late, great Freddie Blassie’s cane.

Rotundo and Windham would regain the belts from Sheik and Volkoff on an episode of Championship Wrestling and would hold the titles for about 2 months before dropping them to “The Dream Team” (Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Brutus Beefcake).

Windham left the WWF thereafter and Rotundo made a feeble attempt to re-live old glory by pairing up with a Windham wannabe in Danny Spivey. The “New US Express” went nowhere and soon the partnership dissolved.

In 1986, Rotunda reunited with Windham in Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling Association (AWA) clocking in a match at the “WrestleRock ‘86” event and not much else of anything thereafter.

Rotunda returned to his roots in Florida Championship Wrestling where he won the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship twice; once from the late Ed ‘The Bull” Gantner and a second time from the legendary Dory Funk Jr.

He then transferred to JCP where he was a heel member of the Varsity Club, a group of wrestlers that prided themselves on their amateur accomplishments such as the “Dogfaced Gremlin” Rick Steiner.

Rotunda would go on to win the NWA TV Title from Nikita Koloff and then have a series of title exchanges between himself and Steiner until ultimately dropping it for good to Sting.

Rotunda would find tag team success yet again after pairing with the late “Dr. Death” Steve Williams as the two won the NWA Tag Team Championships from the Road Warriors. The two later had the titles stripped from them when they struck guest referee Nikita Koloff during a rematch.

After a brief departure, Rotunda returned as the sea-faring face “Captain” Mike Rotunda for no reason whatsoever. He made a strange alliance with Abdullah the Butcher and Norman the Lunatic (the late Mike Shaw) of all people to no great avail.

Things changed when Rotunda adopted a new heel gimmick, calling himself “Michael Wallstreet”, a cocky, wealthy financial know-it-all with a hot valet in Alexandra York (Terri Runnels). The two formed the nucleus of what would become the “York Foundation” which would include legends Ricky Morton, Mr. Hughes, Terry Taylor and Tommy Rich.

Rotunda was undefeated during his stint as Mike Wallstreet, but the gimmick would end shortly due to a second offer from the WWF.

In 1991, Rotunda reprised his Wallstreet role, this time as an evil tax collector named Irwin R. Schyster, (IRS) for short. He would generate heat with the fans by calling them “tax cheats” prior to his bouts.

IRS nearly won the 1991 Royal Rumble and King of the Ring tournament and formed a successful tag team with “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase known as “Money Inc.”.

Money Inc. would win the WWF Tag Team titles no less than 3 times with victories over the Road Warriors, The Steiner Brothers and The Natural Disasters (the late “Earthquake” John Tenta and Fred “Typhoon” Ottman).

In late 1993, DiBiase would leave in-ring compeititon to become a commentator. Now a solo act, IRS would go on to feud with Razor Ramon and Tatanka.

He would form another tag team with the late Bam Bam Bigelow which didn’t go anywhere. From then on in he largely floundered in the midcard, jobbing to the likes of Savio Vega and The Undertaker until he left the WWF in 1995.

Rotunda then cropped up in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), this time as “V.K. Wallstreet”, which later did become “Michael Wallstreet” and ultimately “Mr. Wallstreet.”

Regardless of what you called him, he never did much in WCW, briefly joining the nWo like every other heel was doing and eventually started displaying signs of animosity towards WCW.

In 1997, he went to the WCW-affiliated territory of New Japan Wrestling. Whilst in Japan, he partook in many tag team tournaments to failing efforts and also formed a faction of WCW talent called Team 2000 that would feud with Japanese talent.

He briefly returned back to WCW and resurrected the Varsity Club, but the gimmick had run its course.

Rotunda returned to Japan and wrestled in All Japan Pro Wrestling yet again trying to resurrect the Varsity Club. He would eventually leave Japan in 2003 and hang up his boots in 2004.

In 2006, Rotunda was hired as a road agent for the WWE and up to present, he appears sporadically on WWE programming reprising his IRS gimmick.

Rotunda is the son-in-law of the late legendary BlackJack Mulligan and is the father of two current WWE Superstars, Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt, proving that wrestling just flows in Rotunda’s blood.

Special thanks to Dr. Stephen Balsky for contributing the above wrestler profile.

Dr. Stephen Balsky is a chiropractor currently in practice in his native Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been a wrestling fan since age 13 and is very passionate about the product, especially the “old-school” 80’s – 90’s era. He completed his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2015 and currently is also working part-time as a professor in both business and healthcare.

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Rotunda
http://www.wwe.com/classics/wherearetheynow/mikerotundo