Everything WWE does that turns out to be successful seemingly turns out to be all due to happenstance and fluke, not due to good booking/writing. Or is this simply not true?
Was Austin's rise to the top planned? As mentioned recently regarding Royal Rumble 1997 it was Vince Russo who messed up and forced WWF's hand. Would he still have got there without the Rumble win and Mania 13 match?
I'd say so. He was clearly on the rise during 1996 and Russo was a big supporter, as was Bret, so they would have pushed through eventually with him. It just happened that the WM match turned him into the biggest star ever rather than a really big star.