Top Fifteen Stables in Wrestling: Number Nine
Our next stable was by far the darkest of all the stables ever created. Led by the Undertaker, the Ministry of Darkness would create and nurture a stable of near-demonic beliefs and target first Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kane, before seemingly setting his sights on Vince McMahon and the entire World Wrestling Federation.
In October 1998, Paul Bearer turned on his son Kane and returned his loyalties to the Undertaker. The Undertaker would then announce the Ministry of Darkness and a “plague of evil” that would be unleashed on the WWF. He first attacked Austin with a shovel, causing Austin to be hospitalized with a concussion. After kidnapping Austin from his hospital room and attempting to embalm him, Kane attacked the Undertaker and inadvertently saved Austin.
Undertaker would then attempt to have Kane institutionalized, but Kane was able to escape. On his second attempt to institutionalize Kane, Stone Cold attacked Undertaker with a shovel and placed him with a fake Kane mask leading Undertaker to be taken away by the orderlies– unbeknownst to Paul Bearer. Within weeks, Bradshaw and Farooq had formed the tag team Hell’s Henchmen, managed by the Jackyl. While the Undertaker was missing from television, the Jackyl would claim that his acolytes would bring an “age of tribulation” and he would act as the “puppet master” controlling everything from the shadows. The Jackyl, however, would be gone from TV and Hell’s Henchmen would become the Acolytes– who would act for a unknown leader.
One of their first orders of business was to abduct Dennis Knight and took him to “He.” A few weeks later, “He” would turn out to be renewed Undertaker, in a more druid-like attire. He would then initiate Knight into the Ministry and changed his name to Mideon. Undertaker would then order the Acolytes and Mideon to attack and abduct 485-pound Mabel; who would then be re-dubbed Viscera. The Brood was then recruited and added to the Ministry. At this point, the Undertaker announced his plans to take over the WWF and rid the company of Vince McMahon.
During this time, McMahon turned face and began claiming that Mark Callaway (Undertaker’s real name) was taking his gimmick too far and actually believed he was the second coming of the Lord of Darkness. McMahon placed Undertaker into an Inferno Match against Kane– a new member of the Corporation stable to keep himself out of a asylum– the second such match that also involved the same two wrestlers. Undertaker beat Kane for a second time in the match then left a teddy bear burning, which left McMahon reduced to tears as it once belonged to his daughter Stephanie McMahon as a child.
For weeks, Undertaker spoke about a “greater power” who the Ministry and Undertaker took their orders from. He claimed this higher power owned the key to McMahon’s heart and soul. Undertaker and his Ministry trespassed on McMahon’s house and left a burning crucifix-like symbol. This led to the Corporate leader placing his enforcer, Big Boss Man, in a Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XV– which Taker won. At the end of the match, the Brood came down to the top of the cell and lower a noose to Undertaker who then, sending McMahon a message, hung Big Boss Man with the noose.
After Wrestlemania, the Ministry abducted Stephanie. Corporation member Ken Shamrock beat Christian into telling Stephanie’s whereabouts and rescued her. This led Undertaker to flog Christian for giving up her whereabouts. He then ordered the other members of the Brood to attack Christian, but they refused and were summarily removed from the Ministry.
After defeating Shamrock at Backlash: In Your House, Undertaker commandeered Stephanie’s limo with her in it and drove off as the pay-per-view event ended. The next night, Undertaker held a “black wedding” with Stephanie; the plan being that by marrying her he could control all of the WWF. His plans were thwarted by WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin, who rescued Stephanie. Austin was successful where Shamrock and Big Show failed.
By the following episode of Smackdown, Undertaker joined forces with Vince’s son Shane. With this he gained control of the Corporation and merged them with the Ministry to form the more powerful Corporate Ministry. Within a short time period, it was revealed the higher power was in fact Vince McMahon. However, the Corporate Ministry wouldn’t last very long before dissolving. While only lasting a short few months, the Ministry of Darkness and, later, the Corporate Ministry helped push the WWF’s Attitude Era to limits not before done in professional wrestling– forever leaving a mark in the history of wrestling.