Bo Dallas in April 2014
|Birth name||Taylor Michael Rotunda|
May 25, 1990 |
|Spouse(s)||Sarah Bäckman (m. 2014)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Bo Rotundo
|Billed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Billed weight||234 lb (106 kg)|
|Billed from||Brooksville, Florida|
|Trained by||Florida Championship Wrestling|
Taylor Michael Rotunda (born May 25, 1990) is an American professional wrestler. He is signed to WWE, where he is working at the main roster as Bo Dallas. While at WWE's development territory NXT, Dallas was the longest-reigning NXT Champion in the championship's history at 280 days. He previously held the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship three times and is a former two-time FCW Florida Tag Team Champion with his older brother Windham Rotunda.
In 2008, Rotunda signed a developmental contract with WWE and was assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), where he debuted in December by defeating Caleb O'Neal. On December 16, 2008, Rotunda, wrestling under his real name teamed with Kris Logan to defeat Ryback and Jon Cutler in a tag team match. Throughout early 2009, Rotunda continued wrestling in tag team matches, and changed his name to 'Tank Rotunda' in February. In June, he began wrestling as 'Bo Rotunda' and later 'Bo Rotundo', and the following month he began teaming with his brother, Duke Rotundo. At the FCW television tapings on June 23, The Rotundo Brothers defeated The Dude Busters (Caylen Croft and Trent Barretta) to become the number one contenders to the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship. That same night, they defeated Justin Angel and Kris Logan for the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship. They went on to successfully defend the championship against Dylan Klein and Vance Archer and the team of Curt Hawkins and Heath Slater. At the FCW television tapings on November 19, the Rotundos lost the championship to The Dude Busters (Hawkins and Croft).
In early 2010, the Rotundos began feuding with The Usos (Jimmy and Jules), and their manager, Sarona Snuka. They lost to The Usos on January 14, but defeated The Usos and Donny Marlow in a six-man tag team match, with Wes Brisco as their partner. In a straight rematch on March 11, the Rotundos defeated The Usos. In April, they moved into a feud with Jackson Andrews and Curt Hawkins, which began when Rotundo faced Andrews in a singles match and won by disqualification when Hawkins interfered. At the television tapings the following week, the Rotundos teamed up with Eli Cottonwood in a loss to Hawkins, Andrews, and Leo Kruger. Rotundo was then absent from FCW due to injury, making his return in June. He moved into singles competition, defeating wrestlers including Derrick Bateman, Hawkins, Tyler Reks, and Brodus Clay.
In August, FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion Mason Ryan issued an open challenge, which Rotundo accepted. He lost the subsequent championship match by submission. On February 3, 2011, Rotundo defeated Ryan to win the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship for the first time, but lost the championship to Lucky Cannon immediately afterward. He regained the championship from Cannon three months later, on May 19. Rotundo made his WWE debut on July 25, defeating Primo in a dark match before the WWE Raw broadcast began. On August 16, Rotundo defeated Joey Ryan in another dark match at the SmackDown tapings, and the following week on August 23, Rotundo lost to Wade Barrett in a dark match prior to SmackDown. On September 1, Rotundo vacated the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship due to injury. Later that month, it was reported that Rotundo had suffered a lacerated kidney, and was expected to be absent for several months to recuperate. Rotundo returned at the tapings of the January 29, 2012, episode of FCW television, cutting a promo declaring his intentions to reclaim the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship. On February 2, Rotundo and his brother, renamed Husky Harris, defeated Brad Maddox and Eli Cottonwood, a substitute for the injured Briley Pierce, to win the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship for the second time. The brothers held the championship until March 15, when they lost it to Corey Graves and Jake Carter. In May 2012, Rotundo made several appearances at WWE house shows, defeating Drew McIntyre.
At a FCW live event on June 16, 2012, Dallas defeated Rick Victor to win the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship for a third time, right after Victor had just defeated Seth Rollins for the title. He lost the title back to Victor at another FCW live event on July 13, 2012.
When WWE rebranded its developmental territory, FCW, into NXT Wrestling, Dallas' NXT television debut took place on the first episode of the rebooted WWE NXT taped at Full Sail University, where he played a happy-go-lucky and resilient 'blue chip' babyface character while defeating Rick Victor. On the August 8 NXT, Dallas was inserted into the Gold Rush Tournament to crown the first NXT Champion, but was eliminated by Jinder Mahal in the quarter-finals. On the November 7 NXT, Dallas competed in a number one contender's fatal four-way elimination match against Mahal, Drew McIntyre and Justin Gabriel; despite eliminating McIntyre and Gabriel, Dallas succumbed to Mahal. The next week, Dallas goaded Mahal into facing him in a match with the title shot on the line, but Mahal prevailed once again.
On January 26, 2013 at WWE's first-ever Royal Rumble Fanfest, Dallas participated in an eight-man NXT tournament and defeated Luke Harper, Conor O'Brian and lastly Leo Kruger to win the tournament, thus qualifying for the 2013 Royal Rumble match, becoming the first NXT wrestler to compete in a Royal Rumble match. The next day, Dallas entered the Rumble match at number 16, lasting over 20 minutes and eliminating the Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett, who then returned to the ring and eliminated Dallas. This started a feud between the duo, with Barrett challenging Dallas to a non-title match the following night on Raw, in which Dallas pulled off an upset victory in his first singles match on the main roster. Dallas later challenged Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship on the April 24 episode of NXT, but was defeated.
While feuding with Barrett, Dallas also entered the NXT Tag Team Championship tournament, partnering with Michael McGillicutty, who had earlier saved Dallas from a beating at the hands of Primo and Epico. The pairing defeated Primo and Epico in the first round of the tournament. In the tournament semi-finals, Dallas and McGillicutty lost to the Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) due to Bray Wyatt's interference. An attack by the Shield then prevented Dallas from participating in a NXT Championship number one contender match against Conor O'Brian and Corey Graves (both who were later attacked as well). The triple-threat match did occur the next week and Wyatt prevented Dallas from winning the match due to Dallas' earlier refusal to join the Wyatt Family, resulting in a match being set up between Dallas and Wyatt, which Dallas won.
Starting in late April 2013, the NXT audience began to turn against Dallas (despite Dallas not changing his character) and started booing him. NXT Tag Team Champion Adrian Neville chose Dallas to replace his injured partner, Oliver Grey. On the May 8 NXT, Neville and Dallas failed in their first defense of the tag titles when they lost them to the Wyatt Family. Soon after, Dallas' character began showing subtle heel (villainous) traits of being disingenuous. On the May 29 NXT, Dallas competed in an 18-man battle royal to determine the number one contender to the NXT Championship; he eliminated his former tag partner Neville to win the battle royal. On the June 12 NXT (originally taped on May 23), Dallas defeated champion Big E Langston after twice ramming Langston into an exposed turnbuckle to become the new NXT Champion. As Leo Kruger set his sights on Dallas' title, Dallas made his first successful title defense on the July 3 NXT by exploiting Kruger's interference to defeat Antonio Cesaro. On the August 7 NXT, Dallas defeated Kruger to retain his title. By then, the NXT audience's dislike of Dallas' stereotypical babyface character had grown to the point of the crowd literally turning their backs on him while cheering his opponents, whether established heels like Cesaro and Kruger or even unknowns like Mickey Keegan.
Dallas then held an open challenge to determine the next title contender but banned Sami Zayn from competing, so Zayn masqueraded as the masked El Local and defeated Dallas to earn his title shot. The match occurred on the October 16 NXT; General Manager John "Bradshaw" Layfield restarted the match when Zayn won despite Dallas' foot on the ropes, but not when Dallas sent Zayn into an exposed turnbuckle to retain his title. Dallas then faced his next title contender and former tag team partner Adrian Neville and lost by count-out to retain his title. However, Dallas would lose the title to Neville at NXT Arrival in a ladder match. He lost his rematch on the March 27 NXT. On the April 10 episode of NXT, Dallas attempted to mimic Daniel Bryan by trying to "Occupy NXT", but the crowd turned their backs on him as a response. He was then forced into a match against Justin Gabriel, which he won. Two weeks later he lost to Tyson Kidd, and after the match Bo threw a tantrum, mimicking what happened after the "Occupy NXT" incident weeks prior. On the May 8 episode of NXT, he participated in a number-one contender's Battle Royal, and made it to the final four before being eliminated by Tyson Kidd. On the May 15 NXT, it was announced that he was put in a match for the May 22 show against Big E, with the stipulation that if he won, he would earn another NXT title shot and if he lost, he would be forced to leave NXT forever. Dallas subsequently lost the match and was forced to leave. During a dark segment, Dallas turned heel towards NXT (and only NXT) by saying that he hates everyone and that they should leave. In June, Bo attempted to return to NXT by appearing as the masked character "Mr. NXT". However he lost a match against Sami Zayn, who then exposed Dallas and had security take him away.
Starting on the April 7 episode of Raw, WWE started airing motivational-style introductory vignettes for Dallas. Dallas' return to the main roster was in a winning effort, as he defeated Sin Cara on the May 23 episode of SmackDown as well as the May 26 episode of Raw. Dallas made his first pay-per-view appearance at Payback, where he was scheduled to face Kofi Kingston. However, the match never happened due to interference from Kane. Dallas would face Kingston the following night on Raw in a winning effort. Following his début on the main roster, Dallas would go on an undefeated streak, picking up wins over the likes of R-Truth, Fandango, Titus O'Neil, El Torito, Damien Sandow, and The Great Khali. Dallas established himself as a heel when he attacked El Torito after his match against Diego on the July 4 episode of SmackDown. At Battleground, Dallas participated in the 19-man battle royal for the vacant WWE Intercontinental Championship; he managed to eliminate Sin Cara and Titus O'Neil before being the 16th person eliminated after being thrown out by Dolph Ziggler. Dallas' undefeated streak was ended by R-Truth on the July 28 episode of Raw, prompting a small feud between the two. In late August, Dallas began tormenting Jack Swagger about his loss to Rusev at SummerSlam after Swagger's matches.
Dallas began feuding with Mark Henry after defeating him on the September 29 episode of Raw, tormenting him like he did Swagger following Henry's losses to Rusev at Night of Champions. On the October 7 episode of Main Event, Dallas unsuccessfully challenged Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship. Dallas then went on to pick up three more wins over Henry in both singles and tag team matches, before being quickly defeated by Henry in a match on the Hell in a Cell pre-show. He then started to make excuses that he was not ready. On the October 27 episode of Raw, Dallas issued an open challenge and Ryback, who had been out of action due to injury, returned and responded to the challenge. Ryback dominated Dallas and got the victory. Then, on the following night on Main Event, Dallas lost to Sheamus in non-title match, he then demanded a title match at a WWE Live event and subsequently lost that match. Dallas injured his left foot in November and it was reported he would be out of action for around 6–8 weeks.
Rotunda is a third generation professional wrestler; his grandfather Blackjack Mulligan, father Mike Rotunda and uncles Barry and Kendall Windham were all professional wrestlers. He has an older brother, Windham Rotunda, who is also a professional wrestler under the ring name Bray Wyatt, and a younger sister, Mika. He is married to Sarah Bäckman.
Rotunda attended Hernando High School, and graduated in 2008. During his final two years of high school, he qualified for the state wrestling championships. He also played football as a linebacker. Originally, he was offered a football scholarship at Webber International University in Babson Park, Florida, but when the offer fell through, he decided to become a wrestler instead.
On February 19, 2012, Rotunda was arrested for driving under the influence in Tampa, Florida, with blood-alcohol levels of 0.166 and 0.178 according to two breathalyser tests, more than twice the legal limit. He was released later that day on a $500 bond.
Rotunda as Bo Dallas is featured as a playable superstar in WWE 2K15 and has his own path in the Who Got NXT mode for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game documenting his matches in NXT against Big E, Cesaro, Sami Zayn, and Adrian Neville.
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