Since the promotion itself is less than two years old, it's been apparent that AEW has leaned on performers with prior star power/exposure to carry their titles. The first AEW World Champion was one of the greatest of all time, Chris Jericho, and he completely reinvented himself yet again. His promos were among the most entertaining parts of Dynamite each week.
The second Champion is another star from WWE that had some name recognition, Jon Moxley (formerly Dean Ambrose).
While they did rely on well-known stars to carry the major title in the early stages, they didn't do the same thing with the Women's Championship. Riho might be well-known overseas. in Japan and in the rest of Asia, but I don't know how many casual fans would have known who she was. AEW crowned her the first Women's Champion and it was easy to root for her in the early stages. She was the smallest competitor but her "finding a way to win" gimmick got old when she would defeat the likes of Nyla Rose and other much bigger stars. Had they put the title on someone like Allie, who was likely the most well-known female performer due to her time in Impact, then it might have made a little more sense to me. But it is their company and they book it how they see fit.
One strange thing that they've consistently done is tout certain stars of the future (Darby Allin, Jungle Boy, Sammy Guevara, others) but have them lose in big matches. Those are the types of stars that should be carrying the mid-card and its title rather than one of the Executive VPs. The younger stars can establish themselves as the TNT Champion before being considered for AEW World title programs.
Cody has practically beaten everyone he's faced except for MJF. Even then, he lost via chicanery. Cody will lose his title this year and here are my predictions for the next holders of each belt in AEW.
#5 The next AEW TNT Champion - Orange Cassidy
One of the early stars in the infancy of AEW has been Orange Cassidy. His nonchalant gimmick got over instantly with the bigger crowds but he proved that he can actually wrestle when the heat is turned up. He's become more popular than his group, Best Friends.
The fact that he main-evented Fyter Fest against Chris Jericho is another sign that big things are in his future. AEW president Tony Khan is also a fan of Cassidy, which only helps his prospects.
I would have thought that Brian Cage would have made sense as the next TNT Champ because he's a well-known name AND bigger and stronger than Cody. But Cody has beaten Lance Archer and everyone else he's faced. It might not be for a few months, but I expect Cassidy to be holding gold by year's end.