INDUCTION: The Second Labor of AJ Styles – Where “Chain Wrestling” Meets Three Stooges Selling!

19 Submitted by on Thu, 29 July 2021, 20:00

NWA-TNA, 2003

As I write this induction, it’s just hours before what has proved over the last couple of years to be one of my favorite times of the week, that being AEW Dynamite on Wednesday nights. It is a fun show most of the time and I really look forward to chatting with everyone over on old man social media. If you’ve not been joining us, honestly, what’s wrong with you?

Don’t get me wrong – the show is anything but perfect, and some weeks I feel I like the idea of AEW more than the company itself. That said, the company way more often hits the mark than misses, with good to great matches, interesting storylines that don’t insult me, with characters you can sink your teeth into and don’t act like idiots or talk using scripted, bizarre language no one on planet earth actually speaks.

One of the things I like most about AEW is they showcase young talent that has never been given an opportunity on national television. I’d not seen much of Hangman Page prior to AEW, but I am now a huge fan. Same can be said for so many other folks, like Dr. Britt Baker, Jungle Boy, Orange Cassidy, Max Caster, and countless others.

Near the top of that list would be the diabolical MJF, who is currently in a feud with Chris Jericho. In order to foil his arch nemesis, Max has come up with a scheme by which Jericho has to win several matches in a row in order to be granted a match between the two. It’s been dubbed the Labors of Jericho by the promotion and pits Jericho against seemingly insurmountable odds each week.

Welp, that’s been done before.

And it was done by THIS MAN:

That, kids, is a young AJ Styles. And as you can see here, having questionable hair is nothing new for the guy.

As you can also see here, apparently TNA needs REX SEXTON. Not going to lie, I have no idea who that is and I am under too tight a deadline in order to go and do any research.

I’ve got TNA to talk about for crying out loud!

More specifically, I have a match I want to induct this evening:

While the Labors of Jericho serves as a storyline device, such was not the case for poor AJ Styles in 2003. Nay, this was just good ol’ hapless TNA having arguably the most talented wrestler on the planet and putting him up against people he should have honestly never been with in the ring.

Thus the Labors of Styles.

One match I’ve already inducted, as a while back I covered AJ taking on Larry Zbyszko. I’d make a joke about Larry being a spry 52 at the time, but c’mon – WWE is still carting Goldberg out for main events so who am I to judge. Regardless, as bad as that match was, I’d argue it was a ******* Dave Meltzer bonafide classic to what we’re about to bear witness to as AJ battles, with the good Lord above as my witness and I am not making this up, THE SANDMAN.

Yes, THAT Sandman.

There’s living the gimmick, and then there’s LIVING THE GIMMICK.

And let me tell you, ol’ Sandy is doing the latter here.

So he comes out, completely smashed out of his skull, and starts to make his way to the ring. Prior to doing so, he takes a detour to stop by and essentially manhandle one of the cage dancers.

OH! I should probably explain this concept to newer fans who may not have witnessed this family friendly promotion in its prime.

So on either side of the entrance ramps were hot chicks who would be in cages and would dance to the delight of, well, folks who were into hot chicks dancing in cages.

Apparently, one Man, Sand, fell into that category.

Sneaking in behind poor Lollipop, Sandy jumped into the cage, began to dry hump her, took her by the hair, spun her around, stuck his tongue down her throat, then proceeded to play a big ol’ game of grab @$$.

I really wish I was making any of that up.

And by the looks of it, it appeared that Lolly ALSO wished I was making that up.

Poor girl has a look on her face that screamed, “WTH was that?”

So Sandman does his normal smoking and beer drinking entrance, only now instead of the smellbads in Philly getting it, it was smellbads in Nashville getting it.

Look how proud that guy is of his no smoking sign.

I bet his family was equally thrilled!

For his part, AJ decided to have none of that, immediately doing a giant flipparo to put an end to the fun.

Not sure if AJ was supposed to be a babyface or heel at this point, but by doing that I was ready to run to the gimmick table and buy a giant “AJ #1” foam finger.

Back into the ring we go, and we get Styles and Sandman doing a scientific, catch as catch can wrestling exhibition.

One really hasn’t lived until they’ve witnessed Sandman CHAIN WRESTLING.

And by “chain wrestling”, I mean AJ flipping and flopping all over the place in an effort to wrestle himself.

Soon enough, AJ took control of the match, nailing Sandman with a beautiful kick to the kisser. It was so brutal that Sandman could do but one thing:


Like seriously, stop, look at that.

PLEASE TO EXPLAIN what on earth he is doing there.

Despite attending the Moe Howard school of self defense, Sandman finds himself repeatedly thwarted by his far superior adversary. For instance, here AJ takes a trash can and throws it right into Sandman’s noggin.

That is actually really impressive. I mean he hit him PERFECTLY square in the skull.

In an attempt to get back into this, Sandman sits a table up at ringside, gets punched a couple of times, and then helpfully climbs up on the table. I probably should have done a GIF of him gently climbing up there, but I decided to save that bandwidth for…

..AJ crashing and burning…

…before clobbering Sandy with a gorgeous superkick.

I don’t know why, but watching Sandman getting clobbered repeatedly brings me nonstop laughter.

So Sandman goes for a school boy.

This, somehow, some way, causes a ref bump.

Before you ask how such a thing is even possible, allow me to give two very logical answers:

  1. It’s TNA.
  2. It’s the Sandman.

Makes perfect sense now, right?

Just as it looked like Sandman might score a top rope Frankensteiner (!!!), Raven runs in and whacks his old ECW colleague in the spine.

Which allows AJ to hit a second rope Styles Clash for the win.

No joke, I’ve been watching this GIF for like three minutes straight to try to figure out what Sandman was doing with his arms. Your guess is as good as mine.

And thus ended the second Labor of Styles. I’ll be back in a couple weeks for the third. Maybe the fourth too. Depends on how much I want to punish myself. Don’t want to hurt myself too much or…

Yeah, you know.

Thanks for reading another WrestleCrap induction! Hope you enjoyed watching Sandman do the things Sandman does. If it brought you a laugh or two, I urge you to support WrestleCrap on Patreon or over on The Relm Network, where the all new Joker’s Mustache will be airing weekly! Join myself and Vince Russo (!!!) as we go through every single episode of the legendary 1960’s Batman series!

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Yeah, you know...the WrestleCrap guy. Been here since before day 1, I have. You can hang out with me on Facebook. (I'm on there quite a bit) or follow my exploits on Twitter (I'm on there not quite so often). Thanks, and Keep on Crappin'!
19 Responses to "INDUCTION: The Second Labor of AJ Styles – Where “Chain Wrestling” Meets Three Stooges Selling!"
  1. Andy PG says:

    And now, it came… from YOUTUBE!


  2. Enhancement Talent 3 Mark II says:

    I suppose I’d prefer the Moe Howard school of self defense to the oft mentioned (by Gorilla Monsoon) Terry Garvin school of self defense.

  3. Jay says:

    Since I myself am ALSO a glutton for punishment, I did a lil’ googlin….and found out apparently Rex Sexton was either:

    A) A surrealist painter who lived from 1946-2015 and exhibited his works in Chicago and Philadelphia.
    B) A pastor with the United Church of God and certified financial planner.

    After watching the stills and gifs of this match…..I would posit that TNA needed both.

  4. Preparation Triple H says:

    Sandman is doing The Curly Shuffle!

    Hey Moe! Hey Moe!
    (Hey Moe! Hey Moe!)
    Well, a nyuk-nuyk-nuyk-nuyk!

  5. Chris says:

    “Fire Russo!”
    “Hire Surrealist painter Rex Sexton to book the promotion!”

    That would have made for quite an interesting wrestling show.

  6. Cuthbert says:

    “that said, the company way more often hits the mark than misses”

    You’ve apparently never actually watched the show you said you watch every week. It’s an absolute disaster, top to bottom. You really exposed yourself by saying you’re a fan of Jungle Boy.

    • Art0Donnell says:


    • Craig McNicoll says:

      Yeah don’t complain about shows you haven’t watched Cuthbert. Just shove your head back up Vince’s rump and ignore reality, so the rest of us can enjoy ourselves.

    • guest says:

      Remind me of how often Raw & Smackdown have been disasters since 1993 and 1999?

      If you don’t like AEW fine but quit with the nonsense about how bad it is.

  7. Terrence says:

    Me and a buddy once met Sandman at a club called The Lagoon in a suburb of Philly. Around 2000-2002 time frame I think. He was busy double fisting cocktails and holding up a wall. When we went over to meet him, he was actually cool enough at first. But then began to talk/slur for 15 minutes about how Steve Austin stole his gimmick. I excused myself to go take a piss and left my friend there. My friend is still annoyed with me.

  8. Gruesome Gary says:

    Just have to disagree on AEW.

    It’s not a good show. It just seems that way because the competition is rotten.

    AEW is bad TNA with less stars and they’ve absolutely killed off the few guys that could have been their big stars like Hangman Page and Jungle Boy.

    We get rotten John Moxley and Omega matches that are hokey as hokey gets as their biggest matches of the past recent years.

    Moxley couldn’t draw a line if you spotted him the paper, straight edge and pencil.

    • Craig McNicoll says:

      You’ve never actually watched AEW have you?

    • Guest says:

      “AEW is bad TNA with less stars and they’ve absolutely killed off the few guys that could have been their big stars like Hangman Page and Jungle Boy”.

      You clearly did not watch any TNA from 2002 up to them selling to Anthem since a good portion of TNA was terrible and they killed off multiple guys (mutliple times) in some instances.

      “Moxley couldn’t draw a line if you spotted him the paper, straight edge and pencil”.

      Who in the American wrestling scene in 2021 draws on par with guys like Ric Flair, 80’s Hogan, Steve Austin, & The Rock?

      If you want to piss on Moxley don’t do so while pretending this isn’t a problem even in WWE.where they either push guys that aren’t over or do and repeatedly kill enthusiasm for them and then eventually in some cases fire them.

  9. Kyle says:

    Out of curiosity,

    What were the next two labors that AJ had to face off against?

  10. Jerry says:

    When you mentioned “old man social media” in the intro, I expected it to link to an IRC channel or a BBS message board. Or a PO box adress maybe…
    Have I really reached a point already, where the “ancient” things are too modern for my taste?

  11. Unknown says:

    The amazing thing is that Styles didn’t leave TNA sooner, IMO…

    • Guest says:

      It’s always funny when you see people talk about how good TNA was before Hogan and Bischoff came in and then you see shit like this.

      Also I like AJ looking like modern R-Truth.

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