AJ Styles won the Intercontinental Championship in an instant classic against Daniel Bryan on the June 12th edition of Friday Night SmackDown.
In this forty minute match of the year candidate, both men elevated the prestige of the championship that had lost some of its luster after a few lackluster reigns.
Since winning the title, AJ Styles has successfully defended the title against the likes of Drew Gulak and Gran Metallik. With a stacked mid-card on SmackDown, Styles has a plethora of talent to defend his championship against. However with WWE Summerslam on the horizon, Styles needs a Superstar who will pose a threat to his title reign.
In this article, we will take a look at the five most likely challengers for AJ Styles' Intercontinental Championship for the biggest party of the summer. This list will include WWE Superstars who have momentum, a story and pose a threat to the reign of the Phenomenal One. So, let's take a look.
#5 Matt Riddle vs AJ Styles
Matt Riddle has made quite the splash and drawn the ire of AJ Styles since his call-up to the WWE main roster. The Original Bro had a very successful run in NXT, winning the 2020 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, and NXT Tag Team Championships alongside his Broserweight's tag team partner, Pete Dunne, earlier this year.
His final appearance in NXT was a great "Fight Pit" match against Timothy Thatcher, before the hype vignettes for his main roster call-up started on SmackDown.
Riddle made his debut on the June 19th edition of Friday Night SmackDown, interrupting the IC Championship celebration of AJ Styles. Riddle then went on to defeat the new Intercontinental Champion in a good match to make an impact on his first night on the brand.
Through this hard fought win, Matt Riddle earned himself an Intercontinental Title match against AJ Styles on the July 17th episode of SmackDown.
With the title on the line, the Phenomenal One was able to overcome Riddle, but just barely, reversing a Bromission attempt into a pinning combination.
This was another good match between the two men, who have showed a decent amount of chemistry in their two matches on SmackDown. Although Riddle seems pegged for a feud with King Corbin, another match with AJ Styles would be a welcomed addition to the WWE Summerslam card.
With Riddle being the fresh star on the brand, as well as his momentum, he would be an ideal challenger for AJ Styles at Summerslam. His recent interactions with Corbin and defeat against the IC Champ makes him less likely than the other four on this list.