Quit your crying and pay what’s due… or IRS will audit you!
Mike Rotunda, aka Irwin R. Schyster, recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard ahead of his virtual signing for ’80s Wrestling Con. Rotunda looked back on his WWE career as “IRS” and said it came at the perfect time because it was a play on the “Gordon Gekko” character from the 1987 film Wallstreet. Rotunda started playing a version of the character in WCW (Michael Wallstreet) but found the most success when he joined the WWF and rebranded under the “IRS” name.
“It was kind of a spin-off of what I was doing at WCW. I started doing the Michael Wallstreet, coming off the movie Wallstreet and had a character similar, not as I.R.S. but as kind of a rich guy too. And I didn’t re-sign. They offered me an extension on my contract with WCW and I didn’t sign it so I contacted WWE and went back up there. And they kinda came up with the gimmick with Irwin. R. Schyster,” Rotunda said. “And then it kinda got going and then they teamed Ted and I up and it took off so it was more on their part, you know. Because I knew too, going back there, there was a lot of different characters at the time. You know, that’s what that era had and so they basically came up with it and I had ideas too, once I got started doing it, to tweak it and it just really took off for me.”
When asked if he thinks the gimmick could work today, Rotunda says it could due to being a timeless concept, but it couldn’t be a complete copy.
“I think it could work. But sometimes when you try to duplicate something, people don’t like that either. You know, so I think it is a gimmicky type situation that could work this day and age. You’d probably have to tweak it a little bit. But I mean, no one likes paying taxes so it’s a natural beat-getter,” Rotunda said, “and the I.R.S. can come down on people and put them through hell, so it still is, you’re gonna pay taxes and you’re gonna die someday. Death and taxes. Nobody beats it.”
After re-joining WWF in 1991, IRS teamed up with “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase as Money Inc, winning the WWF Tag Team Championship on three separate occasions. Asked if he could pick one of his favorite memories of that team, Rotunda looked back at SummerSlam 1992 and working with the Legion Of Doom. Rotunda says they might have lost the titles, but the atmosphere and the history really stood out and made the moment resonate.
“I think it was really cool, a big memory working in the SummerSlam over in Wembley Stadium, you know. At that time, and at that period, that was like the biggest house I’ve ever worked in front of and it was just kind of awesome to see the company grow and be able to do a show like that. And we worked the Road Warriors there so unfortunately, we lost the titles but I mean, it was a cool place to work. You know, it’s such a famous stadium and the stuff they’ve had over the years there and all the rock bands and everything. We basically spent like a week over there so it was a pretty cool place to go back in that time.”