Mike Sanders

Height: 6'1"

Weight: 225 lbs

Real Name: Mike Sanders

DOB: 7/20/69

Hometown: Kennesaw, Georgia

Other Names: "Above Average" (WCW)

Wrestler Since: 1998

Finishing Maneuver: The 3.0

PWI 500 2003 Ranking: #179

Previous PWI 500 Rankings: #214(2002)

History: Mike Sanders' career in professional wrestling was almost over before it had a chance to really began. Sanders was a Communications Officer in the US Army during the early '90s, then was encouraged to enter the wrestling business by various sources when he was working out at Lex Luger's Main Event Fitness Gym. He entered the WCW Power Plant in 1998, training in dark matches and the like for the company for the better part of two years. However, in May '00, Sanders was dropped from the Power Plant by the boss there, "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff. Usually, this is the end of a wrestler's run in WCW. But Sanders was given another chance by WCW booker Terry Taylor, as he joined R&B (Russo & Bischoff) Security, taking lumps from other wrestlers while trying to do the bidding the men in charge. From this, Sanders began to wrestle some on WCW Worldwide, and eventually began working his way up the ladder due to his natural talent on the microphone.

Sanders was made the focal point for the Natural Born Thrillers, a strong group of young wrestlers under the beck and call of Russo & Bischoff. Sanders, being the most charismatic of the wrestlers, was the spokesperson on the mic, as he teamed with Chuck Palumbo, Sean Stasiak, Reno, Johnny the Bull, Mark Jindrak, & Sean O'Haire. The group soon began feuding with the Filthy Animals, who had been R&B's previous enforcer group before they broke away. Sanders also led the betrayal of their former trainer, "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, attacking the older wrestler. The Filthy Animals made the save, increasing the tension between the two groups and leading to a signed match at Fall Brawl '00, Sanders' first official PPV.

The Elimination match at Fall Brawl '00 was made between the Natural Born Thrillers and the Filthy Animals (Rey Mysterio Jr, Konnan, Billy Kidman, Disco Inferno, & Tigress), Orndorff, & Big Vito (who had been turned on by Johnny the Bull). At first, troubles between the Filthy Animals gave the Natural Born Thrillers the advantage, as Disco Inferno accidentally hit his Last Dance finisher on Konnan, allowing O'Haire to get the first pin. Disco then had to stay in the ring, as none of the other Filthy Animals would tag him. Big Vito even went as far as to slug him, allowing Reno to get the pin and take him out. Vito & Reno then fought for a while, with Reno knocking out Vito with a kendo stick and eliminating him. This made it 7-4 odds, but Mysterio & Guerrera brought their team back, double-teaming Reno and eliminating him with Guerrera's Juvi Driver. O'Haire again took control of the match, though, hitting his Seanton Bomb on Juvi and pinning him. Orndorff came into the ring, though, and showed that he knew everything that the Thrillers had learned, taking out Johnny the Bull with a Piledriver. But shortly thereafter, when attempting another piledriver, Orndorff seriously injured himself, and had to be carried to the back, ending the match as a No-Contest.

At the next Nitro, Sanders, Jindrak, O'Haire, Palumbo, & Stasiak faced off against the two Filthy Animal survivors, Rey Mysterio Jr & Tigress. Despite the odds, the two Animals persevered, and eventually came out on top, a humiliating defeat for the Thrillers. Still, things improved for the Thrillers in later days, when "Coach" Kevin Nash began helping them towards the top of WCW. Nash's main focus seemed aimed at Sanders, whom he helped in a big way, joining him in a Powerbomb match against the WCW World Cruiserweight Champion, Elix Skipper. Nash dominated the cruiserweight, eventually powerbombing him. Sanders then made the pin, earning his first wrestling gold. Sanders, holding a title, then began feuding with the Commissioner of WCW, Ernest "The Cat" Miller. Sanders wanted to be the Commissioner, since Miller, having turned 'face', had been working against the Thrillers' best interests. He used power given to him by Vince Russo to vacate the Hardcore Title, which had been around the waist of Norman Smiley, and created a tournament for the belt. In the finals, Reno was beaten by the Wall, apparently making the Wall the champ. But Sanders helped out his fellow Thriller, reversing the decision and giving Reno the belt. Sanders liked the taste of the power, and wanted more. But Miller, having the power, made Sanders have to fight him in a Kickboxing match for the Commissionership at Halloween Havoc.

In the match, Miller (a former ISKA kick-boxing champion) obviously held the edge, dominating Sanders through the three rounds. However, near the end of the last round, Shane Douglas came out and attacked Miller, pulling him out of the ring. Miller was able to fight off Douglas, but as he was doing so, Miller was counted out, giving Sanders, shockingly, the Commissionership of WCW (this was the match where Miller was counted out AFTER the time had expired on the last round, which meant that he should have won via points). With the power of the Commissionership on his side, Sanders became a tyrant of WCW. A few weeks later, after Sean Stasiak had cost Kevin Nash a win over the World Champion, Booker T, Nash was set to take out the disrespectful member of the Natural Born Thrillers. However, the rest of the Thrillers, including Sanders, attacked Nash, staying strong as a unit while betraying their 'Coach'. With Sanders having more power in WCW than ever before, Nash apparently was no longer necessary for the group's survival.

Sanders used his Commissioner powers in many ways, always to the benefit of the Natural Born Thrillers. On repeated occasions, he twisted the rules on opponents of the Tag-Team Champions, Jindrak & O'Haire, helping the two wrestlers retain the belts. He continued to make life hard for his adversary, Ernest "The Cat" Miller, as well as defending the Cruiserweight Title every so often, beating newcomer Kwee Wee at WCW Mayhem. But the growth of the Thrillers began to take its toll, as they were battling many adversaries at the same time, including Miller, Nash, Diamond Dallas Page, Ric Flair, and others. At the beginning of December, Sanders was beaten by Chavo Guerrero Jr, who took away the Cruiserweight belt. Soon after, at Starrcade, Sanders was unable to prevent the Insiders (Nash & Page) from taking away the tag-team belts from the group, as they beat the Perfect Event for the gold. Sanders' problems with Ernest Miller also continued, as Miller continued to go after him, wanting his Commissioner powers back. Miller appeared to have the new CEO, Ric Flair, on his side, causing a power struggle.

At the beginning of 2001, it was finally signed that Miller and Sanders would face one more time for the Commissioner's spot. Also on the line was Miller's valet, Miss Jones. The match went back and forth between the two, who hated each other terribly. During the match, Sanders tried to use a chair to take advantage, but was stopped by Miss Jones, allowing Miller to come back. The Thrillers tried to come out to make the save, but were stopped by Kronik, who had decided to back Miller after weeks of being paid off by the Thrillers to attack him. The Cat then got his Feliner kick, knocking Sanders down long enough to get the cover and the victory, regaining the Commissionership, and leaving Sanders without the power that he had become accustomed to. Sanders would try to regain the spot in the next few weeks, but could not succeed, now that Miller had all the cards.

As the Natural Born Thrillers began breaking apart, Sanders started hanging out more with the CEO, Ric Flair, becoming a tutor to the man in charge. Flair had turned heel at Sin, turning on his allies and forming the Magnificent Seven. He gave Sanders various tips on how to be a strong leader, teaching him the fine art of being a true corrupt power. Sanders competed in the first Cruiserweight Tag-Team Title Tournament in February '01, teaming with Kwee Wee. But the duo lost in the first round to the Jung Dragons. Sanders continued to stay behind Flair for the next few months, and without the push of the Commissionership or the Thrillers, faded into the background of WCW, having few angles to work with during the last few months of the Turner-ran WCW. Sanders is expected to be a factor in Shane McMahon's WCW, though, having appeared at Wrestlemania '01 with other WCW wrestlers to cheer for Shane, as he defeated his father, Vince. Unfortunately, that would be the last time Sanders would appear with the WCW-clique.

Sanders spent much of '01 wrestling in the WWF's minor affiliate, the Heartland Wrestling Association, teaming frequently with Lance Cade as the Natural Bron Attitudes. They fought teams like the Haas Brothers and the Island Boys, and won the HWA Tag-Team Titles in February '02, beating Val Venis & Steve Bradley. They would only hold the belts a short time before a break-up occured, as Cade found himself a new partner for the belts. It soon became apparent why the team was broken up. Although Sanders' mic skills continued to improve, the WWF (now WWE) couldn't find a place for him, and released Sanders not long after his tag-team title reign. Sanders would appear in various federations for the rest of the year, still intent upon being a star in the business. He competed with the WWA, being called the Commissioner, and had a feud with Joe E. Legend, among others. In 2003, Sanders came to NWA-TNA, joining up with David Flair and starting a feud with the team of Jerry Lynn and Ron Killings. It's placed Sanders back in the spotlight, a position that the man truly deserves.

Pay-Per-View Summary: (17 - 21, 1 NC)
- WCW Fall Brawl '00 = Sanders, Mark Jindrak, Sean O'Haire , Chuck Palumbo, Sean Stasiak, Reno, & Johnny the Bull competed in an Elimination match against Rey Mysterio Jr, Disco Inferno, Konnan, Billy Kidman, Tigress, & Paul Orndorff. The match went to a No-Contest when Orndorff was injured.
- WCW Halloween Havoc '00 = Sanders won, via countout, over Ernest Miller in a Kickboxing match, which earned Sanders the WCW Commissionership.
- WCW Millenium Final (November '00) = Sanders competed in a Battle Royal, which was won by Mike Awesome. Later that night, Sanders was pinned by Ernest Miller.
- WCW Mayhem '00 = Sanders retained the Cruiserweight Title, defeating Kwee Wee.
- WCW Sin (January '01) = Sanders was beaten by Ernest Miller, who became the new WCW Commissioner.
- HWA Cincinnati Show (August 28, '01) = Sanders & Reno fell to the Haas Brothers.
- HWA Covington Show (August 30, '01) = Sanders, Mark Jindrak & Kanyon were beaten by the Big Show & the Haas Brothers.
- HWA Cincinnati Show (September 4, '01) = Sanders & Mark Jindrak won over the Island Boys.
- HWA Dayton Show (November 14, '01) = Sanders & Lance Cade lost to Cody Hawk & Charlie Haas.
- HWA Cincinnati Show (December 4, '01) = Sanders & Reno lost, via DQ, to Cody Hawk & Charlie Haas.
- HWA Dayton Show (December 8, '01) = Sanders & Lance Cade took down Cody Hawk & Charlie Haas.
- HWA Cincinnati Show (December 11, '01) = Sanders & Lance Cade won over Shark Boy & Maven.
- HWA Cincinnati Show (January 8, '02) = Sanders & Lance Cade defeated Cody Hawk & Maven.
- HWA Cincinnati Show (January 15, '02) = Sanders & Lance Cade won, via DQ, over the Island Boys.
- HWA Cincinnati Show (February 5, '02) = Sanders & Lance Cade took down Chad Collyer & Payne.
- HWA Cincinnati Show (February 12, '02) = Sanders, Lance Cade & Matt Stryker were beaten by Justin Credible, R.C. Haas & Raven.
- HWA Cincinnati Show (February 26, '02) = Sanders fell to Derrick Neikirk.
- WWA Retribution (December 6, '02) = Sanders defeated Joe E. Legend.
- MLW King of Kings (December 20, '02) = Sanders & Jimmy Yang fell to Steve Williams & P.J. Friedman.
- NBCW Shelby Show (January 4, '03) = Sanders took down David Flair.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #27, January 15, '03) = Sanders was beaten by Jerry Lynn.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #28, January 22, '03) = Sanders & David Flair won over Jerry Lynn & Elix Skipper.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #29, January 29, '03) = Sanders took down Ron Killings.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #30, February 5, '03) = Sanders lost a "Four Corners" Match to Ron Killings. David Flair and Jerry Lynn were the other participants.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #31, February 12, '03) = Sanders, BG James & Glen Gilbernetti fell to Ron Killings, Jorge Estrada & Tenacious Z.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #32, February 19, '03) = Sanders pinned Jonah.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #34, March 5, '03) = Sanders & Glen Gilbertti defeated America's Most Wanted.
- BTW Newark Show (March 8, '03) = Sanders won the BTW Heavyweight Title from Jason Styles.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #35, March 12, '03) = Sanders was beaten by Jim Duggan.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #36, March 19, '03) = Sanders & Glen Gilberrti fell to Jim Duggan & Moondog Spot.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #37, March 26, '03) = Sanders was taken down by AJ Styles.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #39, April 9, '03) = Sanders fell to D-Lo Brown.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #40, April 16, '03) = Sanders lost to the X Division Champ, Kid Kash.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #41, April 23, '03) = Sanders & Glen Gilbertti lost, via DQ, to D-Lo Brown & AJ Styles.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #44, May 14, '03) = Sanders won a "Tables" Match over Mike Awesome.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #45, May 21, '03) = Sanders beat Brian Lee 10-8 in the first round of the Hard 10 Tournament.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #49, June 18, '03) = Sanders lost to New Jack in the semi-finals of the Hard 10 Tournament.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #51, July 2, '03) = Sanders was pinned by Shark Boy.

Title Summary:
- WCW World Cruiserweight Champion (10/02/00 - 12/06/00)
- HWA Tag-Team Champion w/ Lance Cade (2/13/02 - 2/20/02)
- BTW Heavyweight Champion (3/08/03 - Current)