From my perspective, it was the star topology that brought Ethernet's big win.
I remember trying to wrestle thick cable around corners without causing network issues and fighting endlessly with vampire taps (and SCSI terminators, but that's unrelated). Token ring was definitely better than this mess.
Then thin cable brought Ethernet competitive with token ring. Now the biggest problem with both systems was employees rolling their chairs over the cable under their desks and bringing the entire network down. And the occasional NIC that loses its mind and goes into a retransmit flood. And sometimes terminators. But, overall, it was OK.
Then 10baseT and cheap switches came along and allowed Ethernet to use an inexpensive star topology. This is what absoulutely murdered token ring. Twisted-pair star setups were so much faster to set up and more reliable to keep working that nobody looked back.
Funny how admins at the time would look at the neck-thick bundle of wires slamming into 80-port switches in the server closet and think, "Good lord, I'd never want to try to keep all that mess working." It didn't take them much time adminning a twisted pair ethernet network for them to grow to love it though.