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)
Vince McMahon (Leader)
Shane McMahon (Leader)
Paul Bearer (Manager)
|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 McMahon 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 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 Stone Cold 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, 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, putting The Undertaker against Steve Austin with Shane McMahon as The Undertaker's referee and Vince McMahon as Austin's referee. That night, Shane gave The Undertaker a quick 3-count for his third WWF Championship reign. 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. The entire scheme had been a plot to destroy Steve Austin. After the unveiling, Linda and Stephanie McMahon announced Austin as the new CEO of the WWF. They gave Austin control over 50% of the company, 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 Championship to the Hardy Boyz and The Undertaker lost his WWF Championship to Steve Austin. All three men got rematches at Fully Loaded. That night, Austin retained the WWF title in a First Blood Match by hitting The Undertaker with a television camera after an assist from X-Pac. According to the stipulations of the match, Austin's victory meant that Vince McMahon could no longer appear on WWF TV. If Austin had lost, he would have been unable to wrestle for the WWF title ever again. Meanwhile, The Acolytes defeated the Hardy Boyz and their manager Michael Hayes to regain the Tag Team Championship 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 Championship to X-Pac and Kane.
By the end of July, The Undertaker's relationship with the McMahon's had dissolved and The Corporate Ministry was substantially disbanded by Shane McMahon on August 2, 1999. The Undertaker went on to form a new tag-team with Big Show (The Unholy Alliance). Mideon and Viscera were included as his enforcers on occasion but at no point was the alliance referred as The Corporate Ministry or even The Ministry of Darkness. The duo captured the Tag Team Championships at SummerSlam from X-Pac and Kane. A week later, they lost the belts to the Rock 'n' Sock Connection (Mankind and The Rock). The following week, they regained the belts in a Buried Alive match following interference from Triple H. Shortly afterwards, The Undertaker suffered a groin injury and left to rehabilitate.
To explain his absence, The Undertaker walked out on Vince McMahon, refusing to compete in a casket match with Triple H, basically saying he quit. The match also became a Dark Side Rules match, meaning that any of The Undertaker's followers could be involved. As a result, Mideon and Viscera teamed with Big Show, but they lost the titles to The Rock 'n' Sock Connection following interference from Kane. Also, a week after the Dark Side Rules match, Undertaker was supposed to face Triple H in a casket match as part of the Gauntlet that McMahon laid out for Triple H, so Mideon and Viscera took his place (with Shane making Triple H attempt to put both into a casket, which he was unsuccessful at doing) The Undertaker was also to be in the Six-Pack Challenge WWF Championship match at Unforgiven, but due to his injuries he was replaced by The British Bulldog. By the time Undertaker returned at Judgment Day 2000 under a biker persona, the Ministry was a distant memory having been completely shelved.
As of 2013, only Triple H, Vince McMahon, JBL (Bradshaw at the time) 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 WWE Raw, where he would return for a brief stint as a part of Kane's ongoing feud with Randy Orton.
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments
- WWF Championship (1 time) – The Undertaker
- WWF Tag Team Championship (2 times) – The Acolytes
- WWF European Championship (2 times) – Shane McMahon (1), Mideon (1)
- WWF Hardcore Championship (1 time) – Big Boss Man
- WWE.com (Official Website of World Wrestling Entertainment)
- Mr. McMahon's WWE Profile
- The Undertaker's WWE Profile
- Triple H's WWE Profile
- John "Bradshaw" Layfield's WWE Profile
- Ron "Faarooq" Simmons' WWE Profile
- PercyPringle.com (Official Website of Paul Bearer)
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