Re: What did Kofi possess that Rusev or Nakamura did not?
Kofi got hot at the right time because of injury to Mustafa and right before Mania with no obvious opponent for Bryan in sight.
But more than timing, Kofi had those 11 years of being in front of the fans faces, becoming a lovable figure. And once fans saw an opening for him at the main event level, they got behind him and stayed behind him.
Nakamura, while talented, doesn't have the amount of time Kofi has put in and while booking did let him down, he didn't put his best performances out there, unlike Kofi has recently. And Rusev, he could have been in Kofi's spot, though I believe Kofi is better suited for the role. But the timing was never right.