Calaway is a leader of the locker room due to many credible things and being respected among his younger peers is one of these attributes.
Calaway is blessed with a certain winning streak, which we will come to later on. This said winning streak has foundations that aren't really discussed by many of the IWC. The majority believe that this said streak is out of this world, leaving no one to question its roots.
The first few wrestlers who fell to the streak were reputable performers such as Jimmy Snuka, Jake Roberts, King Kong Bundy and many others. These wrestlers were already wrestling at a main-event level and were willing to put over the younger Calaway.
It can be argued that this attitude instilled within Calaway became prominent in his later years, as he has feuded with many up-and-coming wrestlers such as Muhammad Hassan, Jon Heidenreich, Randy Orton and a host of other younger talents.
Calaway doesn't hog the spotlight, keeping the business and the careers of other peers to a high level of potential.
This match with Jeff Hardy is a good example for the theory.