Monday, June 2, 2008

Performer Analysis: Mike Rotunda

1) Innovation- 2/10

Not much stands out in the way of innovation for Rotunda. He had a good career that took him to the major promotions in the US and Japan. He was part of the NwO and the Varsity Club, two prominent and very intriguing groups but one he had nothing to do with their success and the other was cut prematurely.

2) Conditioning- 8/10

Rotunda has excellent stamina, probably his best trait. I have seen him go the distance against tons of guys and the reason is his pacing. He understands the rigors of a pro match, especially one that has to go long and the way to not only pace the story of the match, but yourself as well so not to blow up, but along with that has to go your own physical constitution. He's not in peak condition but good enough for his capabilities. By his own admission, he never used any muscle enhancing drugs or other recreational drugs so I can only take him at his word since he was never ailed during his career with those issues. He was a good high school and college football player as well, and those training camps could have naturally enhanced his endurance levels.

3) Skill- 8/10

Rotunda, despite not being a fan when a child, was a quick study and knew the mat game. As I said before, he had great pace, but he could also hang with brawlers, technical guys and really quick guys. He was a versatile opponent and worked well with all sorts of different guys, whether rookies or veterans, big or small, smart or stupid. Rotunda was a good basics man and his offense was never flashy, so if things got out of hand, he knew exactly how to slow the match down and get it back on track.

4) Psychology- 9/10
Mike not being a flashy wrestler didn't matter because he knew how to show psych in a match. As a heel, he got great heat, in almost every gimmick because he had an air about him that said I'm better than you and he knew how to work that into a match. He was very adapt at selling a body part after it had been worked on or after he had punched a guy in the head, he would shake his hands out. It's the little things that he did very right and one of the reasons he's known as a great mat technician to this day.

5) Interviews- 6/10

Who could forget those IRS promos about cheating on your taxes? He was always emitting a smugness and made you feel like if you took your taxes to him, he would cheat you and pocket most of the money himself. He portrayed that very well on camera. It's about digging under your skin and when you question a person's social status or honesty, you can really get to them and that generates instant heat. Rotunda was also well schooled and had an educated demeanor to his promos which adds legitimacy.

6) Character- 6/10

He's been an All American, a Syracuse snob, a Boat Captain, an evil Taxman, an Nwo-ite, and a rich, nondescript asshole based off of Vince McMahon. That's quite a laundry list of characters. Rotunda isn't exactly oozing charisma but he does give off a "f*** you attitude" and a bleak dryness to his demeanor that's hard to artificially created. He's just that mundane and it gave him something different. A boat captain (a gimmick he created) was just plain stupid and doesn't translate into a wrestling character at all, but IRS was perfect; instant heat. Rotunda didn't even need charisma to play him. But, he does the underhanded heel very well.

7) Fans- 5/10

Rotunda was always a middle of the card kind of guy, except in WWE where he got semi-main push as part of the excellent tag team Money Inc, partnered with heat machine Ted Dibiase. IRS is the only way the normal fan would recognize him and as i said before, the gimmick always got a lot of heat. But, he's not a household name by any means.

8) Basics- 10/10

Rotunda is very well schooled and from his own words picked up the game very quickly. His routine is pretty basic in all his matches and everything he does is crisp and calculating. He has sharp right hands, great mat game, clean elbows, and is very good on the ropes. He would make a perfect trainer for the basics of wrestling. His bumping is pretty good; he does kind of sidebump, not like Flair, but close to it.

9) Feuds/Matches- 6/10
Rotunda had a number of feuds throughout his career and has probably faced most every top name from the early 80's through mid 90's. Teaming up with Barry Windham, Steve Williams, Rick Steiner, & Ted Dibiase(which is a pretty impressive list of partners) brought him into some awesome feuds with various tag teams including Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff, Road Warriors, Steiner Brothers, Natural Disasters, Nasty Boys and others. He's been predominantly a tag team wrestler through his career but has fought tons of the best names in the industry.
10) Gutcheck- 6/10

After watching Rotunda's shoot, i gained and lost some respect for him. He freely admitted he's not a wrestling fan and doesn't have that built in passion that fans who become actual competitors carry with them therefore not a lot of moments really mean a lot to him, as he kept saying, it's just a job. But, he did what was best for his family during his career, not needing a lot of the spot light, which was why he stayed in Japan during the whole boom period because he made good money and could see his family more. And when it was time to get out, he had no qualms about it, no regrets, just left the business as a performer and didn't look back.

Total Score: 66
Ranking: Midcarder
PO: Thumbs Down

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