I think you nailed it.
"That little cape, though, makes me think of a boy playing a superhero"
I kinda see it now, When i see him he seems normal but has this super human powers.I think we all feel like we relate to him.Thats why people like Batman spiderman do well,They are normal people with secret strenth. We all feel like the little boy with a cape.
I like the way you put that, and I can see kids looking at it in that way too. His bravado, which I think he uses to offset his size, is what gets me the most.
A great wrestler, despite their skill, can still lack the spark that gets many people's attention. He's "short" but he goes out there - in a cape, no less - and acts like, as Taz put it, he's "6'9", 400 pounds." I can't stand the word "swagger" or its derivatives but I have to say that Austin Aries' swagger is out of this world, and, most importantly, he has the skills to back it up. He continually impresses me in both regards and that's what makes him champion material: confidence and
skill. Also, when he has his shades on, he kinda reminds me of GTA: IV's Niko Bellic.
I can't really buy what people are trying to sell about being small not = a (believable) champion. Whenever I watch MMA or women's MMA I see "small" fighters tearing up bigger ones all the time, and that's "real."