The Corporate Ministry
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2013)|
|The Corporate Ministry|
|Members||The Undertaker (Leader)
Mr. McMahon (Leader)
Shane McMahon (Co-leader)
Paul Bearer (Manager)
Big Boss Man
The Big Show
|Debut||April 29, 1999|
|Disbanded||July 26, 1999|
Throughout early 1999, The Undertaker and his Ministry of Darkness had been feuding with WWF owner Vince McMahon, trying to gain control of the Federation. To break Vince's spirits they began targeting his daughter Stephanie. Worried about his daughter, Vince shifted focus from his Corporation stable to Stephanie. With Vince occupied, his son Shane gradually took over the leadership of the Corporation. On April 12, Shane kicked Vince, Pat Patterson, and Gerald Brisco out of the Corporation. His rationale was that there was no room in the Corporation for the old and that Vince no longer had his priorities straight. Shane then slapped his father, saying that the strong, ruthless man he knew was gone.
Heading into WrestleMania XV, Vince McMahon had been feuding with Stone Cold Steve Austin for an entire year. By this point, the Corporation was involved in the feud as well. The Rock lost his WWF Championship to Austin at WrestleMania XV. He got a rematch at Backlash where Shane was the special guest referee, but lost that match as well. Since Shane had accidentally hit him with the championship belt near the end of the match, The Rock blamed him for the loss. They had a confrontation the following night on Raw Is War and The Rock was fired from The Corporation, but not before giving Shane a Rock Bottom.
At Backlash, the Ministry kidnapped Stephanie. The Undertaker attempted to sacrifice her the following night, but the sacrifice was disrupted by Steve Austin. Members of The Corporation had wanted to help Stephanie but Shane held them back.
On April 29, the pilot episode of SmackDown!, The Undertaker merged his Ministry of Darkness with Shane's Corporation to form the Corporate Ministry. The two groups united in order to fight their common foes Steve Austin, The Rock, and Vince McMahon. The members of both factions seemingly forgot their past conflicts and worked together as a massive stable.
On the following episode of Raw Is War, a new faction formed to oppose the Corporate Ministry. Former Corporation members Mankind, Ken Shamrock, Big Show, and Test joined together to form The Union. The Union members felt that they were being screwed over by the Corporation ever since Shane had taken control of it from his father. Wanting revenge on his son, Vince soon united with the Union as they fought with the Corporate Ministry.
The Corporate Ministry
As the Corporate Ministry's first act, Shane ordered a WWF Championship match at Over the Edge between Austin and Undertaker with himself as a special guest referee. Vince countered by making himself a special enforcer. That night, an altercation between the feuding McMahons collected Undertaker and Austin, and Shane fast-counted the pin to give the match and the title to Undertaker. That same night, The Rock defeated Triple H via disqualification and The Union defeated The Acolytes, Viscera, and Big Bossman in an elimination match. A week later, The Acolytes defeated X-Pac and Kane to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.
Meanwhile, The Undertaker's claim since the Ministry of Darkness that he served a higher power was expanded upon, as a mysterious cloaked figure even more powerful than Undertaker was shown giving orders from behind the scenes. Eventually, The Undertaker decided to serve Austin up to this greater power, who revealed his identity to Austin while dressed in a black robe and a hood that hid his face from the live audience. On June 7, the identity of the higher power was revealed as Vince McMahon and the entire exercise had been a ruse designed to fool everyone and destroy Austin. After the unveiling Linda and Stephanie McMahon, who were also victims of the ruse, got their revenge on Vince and Shane for their actions. Linda announced that she was stepping down as CEO of the company and hiring Austin as her replacement. Further, she and Stephanie were signing over their shares of the WWF to Austin, making him the majority owner of the company with a 50% stake leaving Vince and Shane with 25% each. The Undertaker has stated that he considers the Corporate Ministry stable to be the low point of his "dark" era due to the diluting of power from himself to Vince McMahon.
With Austin now feuding with the McMahons, The Undertaker faced a new challenger, The Rock. After Rock beat The Undertaker and Triple H in a handicap match, The Undertaker faced The Rock at King of the Ring for the title. Undertaker won the match and retained the title thanks to a sealing run-in by Triple H. That same night, Vince and Shane defeated Austin in a ladder match to win his 50% share of the company and regain full control of the WWF. The following week, The Acolytes lost their tag team titles to the Hardy Boyz
As far as Austin was concerned, he reinserted himself into a feud with Undertaker by announcing the night after losing to the McMahons that he booked himself a title rematch with Undertaker for the next week's Raw Is War, which he won.
At Fully Loaded, a First Blood match was signed with two stipulations. If Undertaker regained the title, Austin could never challenge for it again. If Austin was to retain, Vince McMahon would be forced to leave the WWF. Austin won by hitting The Undertaker with a television camera after an assist from X-Pac, thus retaining the title and forcing Vince out of the company. Meanwhile, The Acolytes defeated the Hardy Boyz and their manager Michael Hayes to regain the tag team titles and Triple H defeated The Rock in a leather strap match to become the number one contender for the WWF title. Two weeks later, the Acolytes would lose the tag team titles to X-Pac and Kane.
By the end of July, The Undertaker's relationship with the McMahons had dissolved and The Corporate Ministry was effectively disbanded by Shane McMahon on August 2, 1999. Shane continued to align himself with Triple H and Chyna, and on the Raw Is War following SummerSlam he helped Triple H defeat Mankind to win his first WWF Championship. The Acolytes stayed together and continued to wrestle under that name with no connection to anyone, eventually becoming the APA.
The Undertaker, in the meantime, formed a new tag team with Big Show called the Unholy Alliance, which eventually grew into a stable that included former Ministry members Mideon and Viscera. They defeated X-Pac and Kane at SummerSlam for the WWF Tag Team Championship only to lose them a week later to the makeshift tag team of Mankind and The Rock, which became better known as the Rock 'n' Sock Connection. The following week, they regained the tag team titles in a Buried Alive match after Triple H buried Mankind following an attack on Big Show.
Shortly after this, it was found that Undertaker suffered a torn groin and would require surgery, which necessitated a change in storyline. The team's scheduled defense aganst the former champions on Raw Is War two weeks later was turned into a Dark Side Rules match where any of the members of the Unholy Alliance could wrestle. This enabled Undertaker to avoid aggravating his injury, although the group lost the titles back to the Rock 'n' Sock Connection.
Undertaker was also set to compete in a Six-Pack Challenge WWF Championship match at Unforgiven against The Rock, Mankind, Kane, Big Show, and Triple H, requiring a change in those plans as well. One week after the group lost the tag team titles for the final time, Vince McMahon forced Triple H to take part in a gauntlet match to keep his spot in the Unforgiven main event with each match being considered the "specialty" match of the competitors. Undertaker was originally to face Triple H in a casket match as part of the gauntlet, but Undertaker refused to compete and walked out on Vince McMahon. Mideon and Viscera, who earlier had interfered in Triple H's inferno match against Kane, were forced to take Undertaker's place and won the match after Triple H was unable to put both men in a casket.
After that, the remaining members of what was left of the Ministry went their separate ways. Big Show became the WWF Champion at that year's Survivor Series, while Viscera became a member of the WWF Hardcore Division and was eventually let go from the company. Mideon disappeared for some time after Unforgiven, returning first as an impostor version of Mankind and then as "Naked Mideon" before leaving the company himself.
As of 2014, only Triple H, Vince McMahon, JBL (Bradshaw at the time), The Big Show and The Undertaker are still employed by the WWE today as former members of the Corporate Ministry. Paul Bearer returned to WWE several times since the disbandment, with the last before his death in March 2013 taking place on the April 23, 2012 episode of Raw, where he would return for a brief stint as a part of Kane's ongoing feud with Randy Orton. On February 18, 2014, Viscera died of a heart attack, four days after turning 43.
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments
- World Wrestling Federation
- The Corporation (professional wrestling)
- McMahon-Helmsley Faction
- Ministry of Darkness
- The Authority
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