WWE's circus most certainly needs acrobats like Tyson Kidd, but he will struggle to ever be the star of the show.
Kidd, only recently returned from injury, now leaps back into the fray with a surgically repaired knee. If the aftereffects of surgery do not hamper him down the road, he's easily among the most talented men on the WWE roster.
Quick, deft and mesmerizing in the ring, Kidd is considered perpetually underappreciated.
Before his injury clipped his wings, Kidd was mostly a tag team specialist, partnering with Justin Gabriel after a long run with David Hart Smith. Aside from one chance in the 2012 Money in the Bank ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship, he's been a fixture on the lower card.
Kidd is certainly capable of more than appearing on WWE's C-shows like Superstars, but being a top guy is a long shot for him.
At 5'10'', 195 pounds, he's roughly the same size as Daniel Bryan. Bryan has managed to be a huge star in the company by being an elite wrestler and exuding a fun, magnetic personality.
Kidd has the wrestling down, but the peak of his career will be determined by how much he can produce the magnetism.
A Wrestler's Wrestler
Kidd may be destined to wear the "underrated" label rather than championship titles throughout his career. This is the kind of label folks in the industry and diehard fans give out, while casual fans are the ones busy underrating.
Edge included Kidd in a short list of WWE's most underrated wrestlers.
Kidd, like Curt Hawkins, has won tag team gold, but hasn't taken off as a singles star. One has to wonder if his resume will end up more like Hawkins' or if he will follow Kofi Kingston's path of collecting midcard titles.
Winning honors like the Wrestling Observer 2012 Most Underrated award has to give Kidd confidence going forward, but he'd likely much rather be on the list of most popular stars or best champions.
Sean Waltman, a smaller, quick wrestler himself, had high praise for Kidd.
@KiddWWE You are pound for pound 1 of the best on the planet.— Sean Waltman (@TheRealXPac) March 5, 2013
When given a choice between high-flying dynamos, Dustin Rhodes made an emphatic selection.
This kind of admiration from Kidd's peers is common. While he's a favorite of the locker room, he hasn't yet managed to transfer that to the general public.
His in-ring skills are phenomenal so it's clear why so many wrestlers enjoy his work. His ability to turn that into widespread popularity will define the rest of his career.
It's almost cruel that being one of the fastest, most athletic and technically-sound wrestlers in WWE isn't enough to warrant more success. The formula to be a top star requires one to connect with the audience through one's personality and through the stories one tells in the ring.
Few are as physically gifted as Kidd, so why doesn't he have a longer list of memorable matches?
Rattling off five great matches that Daniel Bryan has produced on TV is easy. The same is true for The Shield, Randy Orton or Alberto Del Rio, but not for Kidd.
One can partially blame his lack of standout matches on a lack of opportunity. Were he to get the same chances as the men mentioned above, would he compile classics at the same rate? He certainly has the talent to do so.
Kidd is impressively smooth in the ring, an energetic blur whose offense is pure artistry.
The height and grace he achieves on his springboard moves is impressive.
That applies to his array of kicks as well. They are just breathtaking.
Watch him in action against Trent Barretta from their match in May 2011 on Superstars. He's fun to watch as he darts around the ring and shows off his array of talents.
He's no Shawn Michaels, but Kidd does a solid job in making the match dramatic through his selling, his facial expressions and body language. At one point he rolls out of the ring, the frustration clear on his face.
It will be the quality of his matches that will determine how close he can get to the proverbial brass ring, not his personality.
Kidd is not suddenly going to become The Rock on the microphone or become as charismatic as Eddie Guerrero by practicing in the mirror, but he can harness hard work and direction into maximizing the non-wrestling skills required to be an upper-echelon star.
Lack of Pull
Some people walk into a room and everyone knows they're a star. It doesn't matter if you're a WWE fan or not, most folks can tell John Cena is a star right away. Brock Lesnar or Steve Austin stand out in a crowd in the same way.
Whether it's through charm or sheer presence, those men's star power is obvious.
This is Kidd's biggest flaw. He's a likable, hardworking guy, but he doesn't pop on the screen. He doesn't feel larger than life.
He's a better wrestler than Damien Sandow, Bray Wyatt and Fandango, but those guys' characters get them noticed. What’s Kidd’s character?
He's played both a proud member of the Hart family legacy and a snooty, arrogant jerk. In this promo on NXT, he does his best as a heel.
Kidd's delivery is well-timed here. He puts good energy into the performance, but doesn't overact. It’s good work, but when you put this side by side with WWE's elite talkers one can see why he's not a headliner at this point in his career.
His mic skills are solid, not great.
Jim Ross believes there is more personality inside him, awaiting to emerge. In a blog entry, Ross writes of Kidd, "I love his in-ring persona, which will/should only get bigger and better."
Ross may be right, but it will be hard for Kidd to develop his persona to the point where he overtakes the most engrossing figures on the WWE landscape.
Kidd's best bet with WWE is to serve as the company's workhorse, to do what Dean Malenko did for years with WCW: put on wrestling clinics before the big stars' slots.
Don't expect Kidd to go his entire career without a singles title. Bet on him having a number of runs with the United States Championship and the Intercontinental title. His exciting style will earn him at least that.
One can see a bit of Rey Mysterio, Owen Hart and Chris Jericho in what Kidd does in the ring, but he lacks the "it factor" that earned those men their success.
Kidd's position before his injury didn't match up to his talent. He deserves to be featured more. He has the potential to compile a solid list of classics to his name.
Anyone expecting an underdog run to the world title is likely to be disappointed though.
Mysterio, who did just that, has a far deeper connection with the crowd than Kidd. And while "The Calgary Kid" will stoke the fires of his popularity, he'll be hard-pressed to leap all the way to the top of the ladder.
It's elephants and lion tamers that attract more buzz, leaving more talented men like Kidd to be the buildup rather than the sendoff.