Michael Edwin Neil Sanders (July 20, 1969) is an American stand-up comedian and former professional wrestler. Sanders is best known for his time in World Championship Wrestling, where he was a one time Cruiserweight Champion.
Prior to his professional wrestling career, Sanders served for four years in the United States Army, three of which included being stationed in Germany. Following his discharge, he began working as a bouncer for a bar.
Professional wrestling career
Sanders trained at the WCW Power Plant before debuting in World Championship Wrestling in 1998, before finally he made his official debut as "Above Average" Mike Sanders, on the August 9th, 2000 edition of Thunder where he was defeated by Norman Smiley in a Hardcore Match.
The following week on the August 16th, 2000 edition of Thunder he helped formed the Natural Born Thrillers with Chuck Palumbo, Shawn Stasiak, Sean O'Haire, Mark Jindrak and Reno betraying and attacking the Filthy Animals. From here he became the mouthpiece of the Natural Born Thrillers. On the September 27th, 2000 episode of Thunder, Sanders was put in charge by Vince Russo and went on to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship on the October 2nd, 2000 edition of Nitro. Sander would eventually lose the Cruiserweight Title to Chavo Guerrero Jr. on the December 6th, 2000 edition of Thunder
At Halloween Havoc Sanders defeated Ernest "The Cat" Miller by countout in a kickboxing match (3rd round 2:00), to become the new WCW Commissioner. As Commissioner, Sanders abused his power to the advantage of the Thrillers. However Ernest Miller became Commissioner again after he defeated Sanders at WCW Sin on January 14, 2001.
From here Sanders became a protege to WCW CEO Ric Flair. Sanders also continued his alliance with Reno and working with the Natural Born Thrillers until the group's dissolution in February 2001, after Johnny The Bull reformed the Mamalukes with Big Vito and members Shawn Stasiak and Mark Jindrak began feuding with Sean O'Haire and Chuck Palumbo over the WCW Tag Team Championship.
Sanders continued wrestling random singles matches until the March 14th, 2001 episode of Thunder, where Sanders formed a short lived Tag Team with Disco Inferno where they were defeated by Hugh Morrus and Konnan. Sanders last WCW appearance was on the March, 19th, 2001 edition of Nitro when Sanders tried assisting Disco in his match against Jason Jett, which Disco ended up losing.
In late March, 2001 the World Wrestling Federation bought out WCW.
When WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation in March 2001, Sanders' contract was acquired as part of the deal. He only wrestled one dark match on August 6, 2001 before Raw Is War losing to Reno, both wrestling as members of The Alliance. Sanders was then sent to the Cincinnati, Ohio-based Heartland Wrestling Association, then a WWF developmental territory.
There he was a member of Team WCW along with Johnny The Bull, Reno, Mark Jindrak, Jason Jett, Lash LaRoux, Shannon Moore, Evan Karagias, Kwee Wee, Elix Skipper and Jamie Knoble.
He later formed a tag team with Lance Cade. On February 13, 2002, Sanders and Cade captured the tag team titles defeating Val Venis and Steve Bradley, but the titles were vacated the following week and Lance Cade and Steve Bradley became the new champions.
In March, 2002 Sanders became head Booker of HWA. Sanders last match under WWE contract was a dark match before RAW on June 24, 2002, where Sanders and Jason Sugarman defeated B.J. Payne and Steve Bradley.
With no plans to bring him up to the main roster, Sanders was released by the WWE on July 19, 2002, along with Jason Jett, Race Steele, Steve Bradley and Jason Sugarman.
Post WWE (2002-Present)
Sanders was hired by the World Wrestling All-Stars promotion on November 28, 2002 and toured Europe as the onscreen commissioner of the promotion.
In January 2003 he joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. He was released in August 2003.
In 2004, Sanders started wrestling for Georgia Championship Wrestling and Universal Championship Wrestling.
Sanders still wrestles occasionally, but has not been working a regular schedule. Sanders returned to the ring on February 20, 2005 in Vince Russo's Ring Of Glory, where he and Disco Inferno defeated Adam Jacobs and Johnny Swinger.
After competing for WCW, WWF and TNA among numerous independent promotions, Sanders retired from professional wrestling and did his first open mic at the Punchline in Atlanta. After just a few months in the business, Sanders got his first paying gig at the Orlando Improv, where he is now a regular.
Sanders has performed with such comedians as Tommy Davidson, Mark Lundholm, Diana Jordan, Craig Robinson, Vinnie Coppola and many others. Mike currently does both clubs and corporate comedy, as well as motivational speaking.