Originally Posted by MrMojoRisin
If you go back to Hogan's first run in 1980, he's basically made in the WWF.
He first made his name as a WWF heel. Then left once his run was up, and went next level as a main event caliber face in the AWA.
Hart and Michaels are basically WWF creations too. They both became known outside of the WWF at first of course (Hart in Stampede, Michaels in the AWA), but they made their names as WWF properties though.
Austin? Austin would be my answer here. He reinvented himself in the WWF and went to new levels in doing so, but before the WWF, he was very highly regarded throughout the industry. If Hogan doesn't change the game by going to WCW, bringing in all his friends, and giving Turner's crew cause to change direction? Austin would have been an eventual, homegrown World Champ. Probably used as a long term foil for Sting.
You could say pre-WWF Austin was on the same type of industry wide level as a Styles or Balor today. Austin in the WWF though? The only guys who ever reached the same heights he did are Hogan and the Rock (both WWF creations).
Can't argue with this but I think we're talking about two different things. You are correct in that they got popular in the WWF, but I'm referring more to where they were created. Hogan had been wrestling almost three years before stepping foot in a WWF ring and Hart and Michaels were already experienced and successful wrestlers(though on a smaller stage) before entering the WWF. The Midnight Rockers/Buddy Rose and Doug Sommers bouts were some of my favorite Shawn Michaels matches, they had an excellent and bloody feud.