Background: Having a slew of plunder-using, weapons-bashing, hardcore wrestlers on its roster, NWA-TNA created the TNA Hard 10 Tournament to see who was the hardest of the hardcore. In the opening tournament match, former WCW competitor “Above Average” Mike Sanders took on the fake Undertaker, Brian Lee.
NWA-TNA PPV #45
May 21, 2003
Mike Sanders vs. Brian Lee
The rules are (not) simple for the Hard Ten match. A person gets one point for using a “strategically” placed weapon; five points for your opponent going through a table (no matter if you’re responsible or not); a winner is only declared after attaining two points above his opponent (as long as the number is ten or above). Sanders immediately went to the floor after both men attained trash can lids provided by the front row fans. “Primetime” Brian Lee opted to use his arms to clothesline Sanders before waffling him with the trashcan lid. One point for Lee. Swinging a wooden board, the trashcan lid and frying pan respectively, Lee gained three more points. Lee’s creativity got the better of him when Sanders caught a running Lee with a head scissors that sent Brian head first into a the trashcan lid. Sanders started whacking Lee on the head over and over again until the score was tied 4-4.
After landing another trashcan lid shot, Sanders placed Lee on the table in hopes of winning this match. Placing the garbage can lid on Lee proved to be Sanders’ downfall as he dove into a swinging Lee that knocked him out of midair with the trashcan lid. Another pair of walloping shots followed, giving Lee a three-point lead to Mike’s five points. Bringing the table inside, Lee placed his opponent across the wood in hopes of elbow dropping him through the table. At the last second, Mike Sanders moved, sending Lee through the table instead. The referee signaled for the bell, declaring Sanders the victor 10-8.
Winner: Mike Sanders (5:50)
Is It A Classic: Lee and Sanders actually did an admirable job with a stupid stipulation match. There were moments where both men could’ve just swung for the fences with, say, a trashcan lid and racked up a bunch of points without even trying. Instead of looking like buffoons, Lee and Sanders displayed a penchant for torture through various weapons and pure arrogance respectively. It’s not a great match, but a lot better than it had any right of being.