5 Intriguing "Outside" Challengers For AEW TNT Champion Cody Rhodes

Who could step up and answer "The American Nightmare's" TNT Championship Open Challenge?

Unfinished belt design aside, it's good to finally have a secondary title in All Elite Wrestling. The modern-day equivalent to a classic Television title (the red strap indicates as such) gives AEW's expanding roster something else to battle over, with veteran Cody Rhodes anchoring the championship picture, likely for some time to come. And given the idea that the title will be defended on a weekly basis (starting with a defense against rising young talent Jungle Boy), this opens the door for some potentially-intriguing match-ups.

The openness of Cody's "open challenge" is something AEW apparently intends to explore, as they search for the freshest possible match-ups to build the championship's credibility. While we'll certainly see the expected AEW talents vying for it (MJF, Darby Allin, Sammy Guevara, et al), the idea that the belt is open to any and all comers, including those outside the company, means there are many possibilities for challenger.

So who from outside AEW would I like to see come in and challenge for Cody's TNT belt? Here are a few of my top picks.

5. Matt Cardona

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Long Island's native son already threw his hat into the ring, via a tweet that followed Cody's proclamation on Wednesday's Dynamite. If AEW were to bring in the woefully-underutilized baron of the Broskis, having him challenge Cody wouldn't be a bad start.

Plus, a featured match between the two is a nice flash-forward. Headed into WrestleMania 32, Stardust and Ryder were treated like afterthoughts by IC champ Kevin Owens, reflecting each man's tier status at the time. Battling for the TNT belt marks a sweet life for Zack and Cody (well, I thought it was clever).

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.