Ministry of Darkness

Ministry of Darkness
Ministry of Darkness
Members See below
The Undertaker (leader), Viscera, Dennis Knight, Paul Bearer, Bradshaw, Ron Simmons
Debut January 1999
Disbanded April 29, 1999
(fused with The Corporation into the Corporate Ministry)
Promotions WWF

The Ministry of Darkness was a professional wrestling stable in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) during the WWF Attitude Era of the late 1990s. Led by The Undertaker, this Ministry was a controversial group with storylines with a Satanic theme that included fictional scenarios where they appeared to perform evil rituals and human sacrifice.



In October 1998 at the Judgment Day: In Your House pay-per-view event, Paul Bearer turned his back on his son Kane and rejoined the side of Kane's brother, the Undertaker. They began prophesying that the Ministry of Darkness and a "plague of evil" would be unleashed on the WWF towards the end of the year, thus making Undertaker a villain. The Undertaker continued to feud with Kane and Stone Cold Steve Austin, which involved several controversial segments in which the Undertaker appeared to attempt to have Austin embalmed alive, attempt to have Kane committed to a mental asylum, and crucify Austin, among other deeds. Undertaker's evil and satanic plans were delayed when Kane cost him a Buried Alive match to Austin at Rock Bottom: In Your House, and he wasn't seen for several weeks afterwards.

Meanwhile Justin Hawk Bradshaw and Faarooq formed Hell's Henchmen, a dark and brooding tag team briefly managed by The Jackyl. Shortly after their debut, the Jackyl left WWF and the team changed their name to The Acolytes. The characters Bradshaw and Faarooq ended up as the henchmen of a then-unknown new leader. As one of their first orders of business, they abducted Dennis Knight on the January 11 episode of Raw Is War and took him to "He". Weeks later, "He" turned out to be a renewed, druid-like Undertaker, who proceeded to initiate Knight as his servant via a ritual, rechristening him as Mideon.

At the Royal Rumble 1999 show, the group of Undertaker, Mideon, and The Acolytes abducted the 485-pound Mabel, who was renamed Viscera the following night on Raw Is War, and turned him to the Undertaker's side. Another faction, the Brood (Edge, Christian and Gangrel), was recruited to the Undertaker's service as well. Then, the Undertaker made it clear that he wanted to own the World Wrestling Federation and oust Vince McMahon.

First strike

Vince McMahon turned face during this time, claiming that Mark Calaway (Undertaker) was taking his gimmick too far, and that Calaway actually believed that he in fact was the Undertaker and that he was the second coming of the Lord of Darkness. This statement could be received as breaking the fourth wall of kayfabe, due to the use of Calaway's real name and the reference to gimmicks. McMahon, shook up, put Undertaker in the second-ever Inferno match, a rematch of the first as Undertaker faced off against his "brother" Kane (who had joined Vince's Corporation to avoid being committed to the aforementioned asylum). Undertaker defeated Kane again, and reduced the WWF owner to tears at the sight of a burning teddy bear. The bear was said to have once belonged to Stephanie McMahon (as a child).

For weeks, Undertaker revealed that his Ministry actually took orders from a "greater power", and kept talking about a higher power who apparently owned the key to McMahon's heart and soul. After leaving a burning symbol resembling a crucifix in McMahon's yard, the Corporate leader ordered his enforcer, the Big Bossman, to face Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania XV. Undertaker claimed victory without much difficulty. After the match, the Brood lowered themselves from the ceiling onto the top of the cell and then lowered a noose to the Undertaker. He sent McMahon another, symbolic message by hanging Big Bossman from the cell.

After WrestleMania, the mysterious woman in the storyline was revealed to be McMahon's own daughter, Stephanie. The Ministry took Stephanie captive that night, and Corporation member Ken Shamrock found Stephanie, crying in the boiler room and with the Undertaker's symbol on her forehead. As revenge on Shamrock for ruining his plans, Undertaker ordered The Ministry to abduct Ken's "sister", Ryan, and "sacrifice" her on one of his symbols. The next week, Shamrock found his sister crying in the boiler room. In addition, since Shamrock had attained the information as to Stephanie's whereabouts by forcing it out of Christian, Undertaker punished Christian by flogging him. The next week, he tried to sacrifice Shamrock and then ordered Christian's fellow Brood members Edge and Gangrel to sacrifice him as well, but they refused and turned against Undertaker instead. This defection of the Brood was the only voluntary defection from the Ministry during its entire tenure.

The Corporate Ministry

At Backlash: In Your House, Vince McMahon had a crazed Shamrock face Undertaker in the hopes that Shamrock would break Undertaker's ankle with his Ankle lock toehold submission. His plan backfired, and Shamrock was attacked by Bradshaw after the match. Later, The Undertaker commandeered Stephanie McMahon's limo and drove off into the night with a screaming Stephanie in tow as Backlash went off the air.

The next night, Undertaker held a "Black Wedding" for himself and Stephanie because if he married the WWF owner's daughter, he would control the entire Federation. Undertaker never got his wish, as the ceremony was disrupted by Steve Austin, the WWF Champion, after attempts by Ken Shamrock and the Big Show failed. As a result, on the very first ever episode of SmackDown!, The Undertaker proceeded to join forces with Vince McMahon's son Shane, in turn gaining control of the Corporation and merging his Ministry with it to form the even more powerful Corporate Ministry. Under his new leadership, the members of both factions seemingly forgot their past conflicts and worked together as a massive stable.

After Vince McMahon was revealed as its "Greater Power", however, the Corporate Ministry would eventually dissolve. The Undertaker formed a new "Unholy Alliance" with Big Show, Mideon and Viscera, which led to two tag team title reigns for Undertaker and Big Show. This group came to an end when the Undertaker suffered an injury in September and was written out by quitting rather than taking orders from Vince McMahon.

Aftermath and legacy

In the final three SmackDown! shows prior to The Undertaker and Bradshaw (now under the rich Texan gimmick of John "Bradshaw" Layfield) facing off at No Mercy 2004 for the WWE Championship in a last ride match, a series of Ministry-reminiscent events occurred between the Undertaker and his former servant:

  • On the September 16, 2004 episode of SmackDown!, JBL called out the Undertaker. When Undertaker came out and had JBL cornered, Gangrel and Viscera appeared and took out Undertaker from behind, commencing an assault by the foursome of Gangrel, Viscera, JBL, and Orlando Jordan (while three individuals were at one point under the wing of the Undertaker, Orlando Jordan was the only wrestler never to had been a member of the Ministry).
  • The September 23 edition saw Gangrel and Viscera, introduced as the Ministry, face Undertaker in a handicap match. Undertaker defeated them single handedly without much trouble at all.
  • The third and final episode of this series, on the September 30 edition, saw JBL face Hardcore Holly in a match. Taker had a vignette with the hearse telling Bradshaw to prepare to take his last ride and rest in peace at No Mercy. In an interview after that and prior to the match, JBL had asked where was Orlando Jordan, who for once was not with him. Following a preemptive assault by Holly, JBL came out for the match. During the match, he assaulted Holly with a weapon, getting disqualified, after which yet another Undertaker vignette interrupted him. In this one, Taker revealed Orlando hung high in the stands, crucified on his symbol.

JBL would beat the Undertaker at No Mercy with interference, however, to retain the WWE Title.

During this series, the SmackDown! announcers mentioned Gangrel and Viscera's former Ministry status, but never once during the entire Taker/JBL feud was it brought up that Bradshaw used to be a part of the Ministry. Instead, the excuse given for Gangrel and Viscera's insert was that "JBL paid them off." At the Great American Bash 2006, however, as JBL was calling the match between Undertaker and Big Show, JBL mentioned that he had fought the Undertaker for the world title and had been on his side in the Ministry of Darkness.


Championships and accomplishments

The championship and accomplishments of both the Ministry and Corporate Ministry

See also

External links

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