I'm just following the company line. To me Austin was a star after his feud with Chris Adams in WCCW but that might just be me.
I agree, that did kick him off to be a big deal. But in WWE, he went through the Ringmaster, then even as Stone Cold he had DiBiase with him and he wasn't really let loose. When that feud with Bret came around in 1996, he played it right, (talked good on the mic, didn't get hurt) and milked the rub he got from Bret for all its worth. It culminated in "I Quit", and even if he actually did quit, he still would have been made.
You're right about Bret. I remember reading a story about WWF in the mid 80's about how Vince found the next Hogan in an Australian weight lifter. He had muscles and could do a back flip; that was all. His first match was with Bret who made him look so good Vince was sure he had a license to print money.
Hmm. Haven't heard that. I do own Bret's book from 2008, I've been planning on picking it up and reading it again. Maybe he'll mention it there.
WrestleMania XV. A huge improvement over 14. It was a lot of fun.