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Home » Superstars » WWE Personnel » Mike Rotunda

Mike Rotunda

Irwin R. Schyster

Lawrence Michael Rotunda is a retired American professional wrestler, perhaps best known as Irwin R. Schyster during his second stint in the World Wrestling Federation in the early nineties. He is currently under contract to World Wrestling Entertainment, working as a producer. He occasionally makes appearances on WWE programming as Irwin R. Schyster.

MIKE ROTUNDA FEATURES

Mike Rotundo as a member of the U.S. Express
Two-time WWF World Tag Team Champion

Irwin R. Schyster
Mike Rotunda saw great success as Irwin R. Schyster

Irwin R. Schyster meets Koko B. Ware
Tangling with Koko B. Ware in 1991

Mike Rotundo as a member of the Varsity Club
The Varsity Club would resurface in 1999

Wrestling career


Immediately after graduating from the University of Syracuse, Rotunda found himself in Germany being trained by Dick Beyer, otherwise known as the legendary masked wrestler The Destroyer. Following two weeks of intensive training, Rotunda began competing against young Americans and European veterans all across the country.

Upon his return to the United States, Rotunda worked briefly in Toronto before receiving a call to join Jim Crockett Promotions in North Carolina. Rotunda would find success in JCP, including a run as the NWA Television Champion. After a successful year and a half with Crockett, Rotunda headed down south to Championship Wrestling from Florida. As a babyface in the CWF, Rotunda would team with Barry Windham, his soon to be brother-in-law.

World Wrestling Federation (1984-1987)

In 1984, Rotunda, as well as Windham, received calls from Vince McMahon to join the World Wrestling Federation. While there they would become The U.S. Express, a patriotic duo who wore red, white and blue and entered the ring to the echos of Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A.

They won the WWF World Tag Team Championships twice, first winning them from Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis in January 1985.The US Express' most notable feud was with The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, who they lost the tag titles to at the first . 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, and Rotunda was teamed with "Golden Boy" Dan Spivey as "The American Express", who had limited success in 1986.

National Wrestling Alliance (1987-1991)

Rotunda left the World Wrestling Federation during 1986 to return to Florida, where he won the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship in March. There, he feuded with Sir Oliver Humperdink's "Shock Troops." Later that year, Rotunda joined the National Wrestling Alliance affiliate Jim Crockett Promotions, where he lingered at midcard level as a babyface before turning heel and joining Kevin Sullivan Varsity Club, a group of wrestlers with amateur wrestling credentials.

Rotunda went on to win the NWA World Television Championship from Nikita Koloff in January 26, 1988. He then began a feud with Jimmy Garvin because Sullivan was interested in Garvin's valet and wife Precious. Rick Steiner eventually left the Varsity Club and began feuding with Rotunda, with the bitter rivals trading the NWA Television Championship before Rotunda lost it to Sting.

Rotunda, alongside "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, captured the NWA World Tag Team Championship from the Road Warriors on April 2, 1989 at Clash of the Champions VI: Ragin' Cajun. The duo were forced to relinquish the titles for misconduct during a title defense at the following month's WrestleWar pay-per-view. The Varsity Club was disqualified when Dan Spivey and Sullivan pulled the special guest referee, Nikita Koloff, out of the ring, thus resulting in the titles being vacated.

Rotunda briefly left the National Wrestling Alliance before returning in 1990 as a babyface under the persona Captain Mike Rotundo. He formed a "crew" consisting of Abdullah the Butcher and Norman the Lunatic to feud with Kevin Sullivan's new stable, "Sullivan's Slaughterhouse" (Cactus Jack, Bam Bam Bigelow and Buzz Sawyer).

Rotundo turned heel later that year and become Michael Wallstreet, the precursor to Irwin R. Schyster. With Alexandra York as his manager, the tandem claimed to have the ability to pick how he would win his match and how long it would take — through the aid of a laptop computer. The partnership would prove to be brief as Rotunda left the National Wrestling Alliance to return to the World Wrestling Federation at the start of 1991.

World Wrestling Federation (1991-1995)

In 1991, the World Wrestling Federation was antagonized by one Irwin R. Schyster, commonly known as I.R.S. Under the guise of a crooked taxman from Washington, D.C., he accused all babyfaces and fans of being worthless tax cheats and reminded everyone of their duty to pay their taxes to the United States government. While his lengthy diatribes upheld the United States tax laws, he had no problem whatsoever in breaking the rules of the Federation during his matches. However, given the nature of the persona, Rotunda was initially leery.

"I was a little skeptical at first," Rotunda admitted in a 2009 interview, "but the fact is nobody likes the IRS. I had a lot of fun calling people tax cheats."

Though technically sound, Schyster was not afraid to wallop fellow opponents with his trusty briefcase, which he insisted on having at all times. Schyster made it to the finals of the 1991 King of the Ring, where he met Bret "Hit Man" Hart. Soon after, he joined forces with another Superstar who was infatuated with money, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase. As a tag team, they were known as Money, Inc. and it was revealed that they had taken out an insurance policy and acquired the managerial services of "Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart.

"We kind of fed off each other and knew what the other one was going to do," Rotunda said. "I think that's what makes certain tag teams gel — the two guys involved just kind of mesh together to make it work."

As one of the most cunning duos ever to set foot inside the squared circle, Money, Inc. soon had their first taste of gold by defeating the Legion of Doom at an untelevised event on February 7, 1992 to win the WWF Tag Team Championships. During a time when the Federation's tag team division was wildly competitive, Money, Inc. would capture the World Tag Team Championship on three occasions.

When the team parted ways, I.R.S. returned to singles competiton and was one of the early fixtures of Monday Night Raw. With every match, he proved why he was a top contender for both the WWF Championship and Intercontinental Championship. In 1994, he joined the ranks of the Million Dollar Corporation. Schyster knew no boundaries as he interfered in Undertaker's matches and repossessed sacred grave sites until their match at the 1995 Royal Rumble. Schyster would prove to be no match for Taker as he was pinned following a chokeslam.

Rotunda would part ways with the World Wrestling Federation in the summer of 1995.

World Championship Wrestling (1995-2000)

Upon returning to World Championship Wrestling, Rotunda would reprise the role of Michael Wallstreet, wearing attire similar to that of Ted DiBiase. His persona was similar to his former Irwin R. Schyster persona in the WWF, stating in a pre-recorded interview on the first ever episode of WCW Monday Nitro: "I'm sure that the I.R.S. is gonna be watching me real close." Despite changing his name to both V.K. Wallstreet (a play on Vincent Kennedy McMahon) and Mr. Wallstreet, Rotunda failed to recapture his earlier success.

Ted DiBiase, under the guise of a financier for the New World Order, offered Wallstreet a contract join the organization following his victory over Mike Enos on the December 9, 1996 edition of WCW Monday Nitro. Wallstreet's affiliation with the nWo would prove to be short-lived as he was removed from the organization on the April 21, 1997 episode of Nitro at the ruling of J.J. Dillon (as Chairman of the Executive Committee of World Championship Wrestling), declaring his contract to be invalid. In spite of Dillon's ruling, Wallstreet adopted a one-man "anti-WCW" gimmick by wearing a black T-shirt with a red line drawn over the WCW logo.

Wallstreet slowly faded out of competition in WCW, eventually becoming an integral part of the nWo Japan faction overseas. Wallstreet would achieve moderate success during his stint in New Japan Pro Wrestling, reaching the semi-final of the 1998 Top of Super Jr. Tag Tournament with Scott Norton. Wallstreet remained in Japan through the end of the decade before returning to World Championship Wrestling in December 1999 to reform the Varsity Club with Kevin Sullivan. The group failed to come anywhere close to reaching it prior level of success and was disbanded within mere weeks. Soon after, Rotunda parted ways with the organization.

While Rotunda enjoyed his time overseas, he doesn't have many fond memories of his time in World Championship Wrestling.

"It was very mismanaged and out of control," Rotunda said in a 2009 interview.

Post-wrestling activity

After five years in World Championship Wrestling, Rotunda retired. The Florida native would spend some time working for his father-in-law's used car business, but missed working for World Wrestling Entertainment. Rotunda would return to the company in 2006, this time as a producer. Utilizing his 20-plus years of experience, Rotunda helps with all facets of running a WWE show, from production to scheduling to assisting younger talent.


 

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MIKE ROTUNDA
IRWIN R. SCHYSTER - FORMER WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPION
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