Re: Steve Austin without "Mr.McMahon," would he have enjoyed the same success?
Long before that heel turn happened, Rock was already getting worship chants. Watch Breakdown 1998 when Rock despite being heel was getting the loudest chant in that PPV. Rock would have easily surpassed Austin as a face, if not turned heel at Svs98. Austin's act had already gone stale by the late 98 and all he was doing, was to feud with Vince, Taker and Kane. He did not want to feud with upcoming guys, and we were getting the same matches with same guys all the time. When Rock won the Breakdown PPV cage match, and became the No.1 contender for the title. But obviously after investing so much in Austin, McMahon didnt want him to be second to The Rock, thus that double pin controversy took place when Taker & Kane pinned Austin. Due to the controversy with the WWF Championship, The Rock was not given a match for the title at Judgment Day and a Deadly Games tournament was held at Survivor Series.
The Rock turning heel and becoming a member of the corporation is what solidified him as second guy behind Austin and that was an extension of the Austin vs McMahon fued. Without Austin vs McMahon no Corporate Rock to win over the fans with that awesome character that eventually made him number two behind Austin. Take away that and his subsequent fued with Austin leading up to wrestlemania 15 and The Rock wouldn't of been nearly as successfull as he became. Go further back and the Austin vs Rock fued for the intercontinental championship and being second last in the ring with Austin at the 1998 royal rumble exposing The Rock to the WWF's top guy where would he of been without that exposure
Making him look like an genuine opponent to Stone Cold?
Most of that did not even make sense from a non-kayfabe point of view. Rock would have easily become THE top guy, Corporate Champ heel turn or not. However, like The Rock said in his latest DVD, they tried out something never been done before, that is, turning a top babyface heel BEFORE he reached his full potential as a babyface.
Being the last man eliminated at a Rumble by Austin didn't mean jack shit contribution on Austin's part. Rock lasted longer than anybody else in that Rumble and didn't need any rub (and didn't get any) from Austin. And the feud for IC title between the two didn't do anything for The Rock. It was one sided and Rock didn't gain anything. It was Rock-HHH feud that did wonders to both men
Get your facts straight, and then question my points