The Corporation (professional wrestling)
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|Debut||November 16, 1998|
|Disbanded||April 29, 1999
(fused with the Ministry of Darkness into the Corporate Ministry)
The Corporation was a villainous stable in the late 1990s in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It was led by the McMahon family and was characterized by an authoritarian and corrupt attitude towards more rebellious wrestlers. The Corporation existed throughout 1998 and 1999 and feuded with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind, D-Generation X, the Union, and the Ministry of Darkness, eventually merging with the latter and forming the Corporate Ministry.
The group was put together and led by WWF Chairman Vince McMahon in an attempt to secure control of the WWF and eliminate the more rebellious wrestlers, such as Stone Cold Steve Austin. Previously, McMahon started surrounding himself with an entourage consisting of The Corporate Stooges, Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson, Commissioner Slaughter and his personal enforcer The Big Boss Man to help him quell the rebellious actions of Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Corporation was officially formed on November 16, 1998 when Shane and Vince McMahon along with The Big Boss Man, Commissioner Slaughter, and Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco reconciled, joining forces with The Rock, who was The Corporation's proclaimed 'Crown Jewel' (and whom they helped win the World Title at Survivor Series 1998), holding the WWF Championship three times while part of the group.
The group became notorious for using their political stroke in the company to give the group vast degrees of advantages in matches. Corporation members were known to adopt "cleaned-up businessmen" modifications to their individual characters. For example, The Rock's "People's Champion" modus operandi changed, as he became known as "The Corporate Champion" during his tenure in the stable. The group subsequently became the most dominant stable in the company by the end of 1998, with Corporate members The Rock, Ken Shamrock, and The Big Boss Man holding the WWE Title, the Intercontinental Title, and the Hardcore Title respectively. Shamrock and the Boss Man were briefly double champions as well during this time, as they held the WWF Tag Team titles.
The group proceeded to terrorize the rest of the WWF roster as well, freely using their political strokes and corporate agenda to put down their authority on other wrestlers. Besides Stone Cold Steve Austin who was their main adversary, the popular faction of rebels D-Generation X butted heads with the stable over principles with DX leader Triple H challenging The Rock for the WWF Title but often losing due to screwing on the part of The Corporation. The stable also found themselves under attack by Mankind, who was still bitter at Vince McMahon for screwing him out of the WWF title at Survivor Series 1998 by having the bell rung when The Rock put the Sharpshooter on him immediately despite not tapping (recreating the previous year's Montreal Screwjob).
Though the group remained on top of the federation heading into 1999, members began to dwindle throughout the year. Then-commissioner Shawn Michaels was the first, having viciously being attacked by the group in a parking lot once it became clear he began to make decisions that did not cater to their interests. Michaels was originally given the vacant Commissioner position left by founding Corporation member Sgt. Slaughter to use his powers on their behalf. Kane's membership was unsteady from the start as he was only a member because the McMahons threatened to send him back to the insane asylum if he did not cooperate with them. Kane officially left the group after WrestleMania XV when Chyna, who was coerced into leaving DX, turned on him during his match with Triple H, who in turn betrayed his DX brethren when he assisted Shane is his European Championship defense against X-Pac and joined forces with the Corporation.
When they entered a feud with the Ministry of Darkness, Mr. McMahon was kicked out and his position as leader was unsurped by Shane, who justified his actions by pointing out that Vince no longer cared about The Corporation and only about Stephanie McMahon, who was a target of The Undertaker. Brisco and Patterson were kicked out, with Shane stating there was no room in The Corporation for the old and replaced them with the Mean Street Posse. Ken Shamrock was kicked out when he showed more loyalty to his sister Ryan, who was also being threatened by the Undertaker. Test left, stating he felt The Corporation was not using him to his full abilities. Finally, The Rock was kicked out after he failed to take back the WWF title from Stone Cold Steve Austin at Backlash, thanks to a botched interference from Shane McMahon and spouting venomous remarks that caused Shane to have the remaining Corporation members attack him.
With their dwindling numbers, they merged with the Ministry of Darkness to create the Corporate Ministry, thus revealing that the loss of members in the Corporation was a process of elimination, separating loyal members from the ones that would be troublesome. Vince McMahon rejoined the stable when it was revealed that he was the higher power of the Ministry of Darkness. The Corporate Ministry, however, crumbled when the Undertaker's relationship with Vince McMahon deteriorated after a loss to Austin over the WWF Championship in a first blood match, and with that The Corporation was officially over. The storyline for this was cut, however, due to a legitimate injury from the Undertaker. Later on in 2000, remnants of the Corporation (Shane, Vince McMahon, and The Stooges), allied with then heels D-Generation X in 2000, creating the McMahon-Helmsley Faction. Although considered a different group, its goals and format were similar to The Corporation.
The Union (aka U.P.Y.O.U.R.S or Union of People You Oughtta Respect, Son) was a short lived stable consisting of former Corporation members Ken Shamrock, The Big Show and Test, and their leader, Mankind. They were a face stable who rebelled against the Corporate Ministry. The stable members came together because they felt they were being treated unjustly by The Corporation since Shane McMahon usurped power in the stable from his father, WWF Chairman Vince McMahon. The group formed on May 3, 1999, four days after The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness and Shane's Corporation merged to create the Corporate Ministry.
The four Union members were not alone as they feuded with the Corporate Ministry. The ousted chairman Vince McMahon briefly led the Union into battle, and superstars such as The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels were loosely allied with the Union, as they all had common enemies in the Corporate Ministry. At Over the Edge, The Union defeated a Corporate Ministry team consisting of The Acolytes, Viscera and Big Bossman in an elimination match.
On May 31, Mankind received several sledgehammer blows to the knee in a hardcore match with Triple H. In reality, Mick Foley had needed knee surgery due to injuries suffered months earlier at Survivor Series and St. Valentine's Day Massacre. He would be unable to wrestle until August 1999. The following week, Mr. McMahon revealed himself as the "Higher Power" which the Undertaker had been taking orders from the entire time he was in command of the Ministry of Darkness, and later the Corporate Ministry. With their lead wrestler injured and their enemy evolved into a different group, the Union quietly disbanded.
- Mr. McMahon (1998-1999) (First leader)
- Sgt. Slaughter (1998)
- Pat Patterson (1998-1999)
- Gerald Brisco (1998-1999)
- Big Bossman (1998-1999)
- Shane McMahon (1998-1999) (Second leader)
- The Rock (1998-1999)
- Ken Shamrock (1998-1999)
- Test (1998-1999)
- Shawn Michaels (1998)
- Kane (1999)
- Chyna (1999)
- The Big Show (1999)
- Triple H (1999)
- Pete Gas (1999)
- Rodney (1999)
- Joey Abs (1999)
- "No Chance in Hell" performed by Peter Bursuker and composed by Jim Johnston
- "Corporate Ministry" by Peter Bursuker
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Feud of the Year (1998-1999) - Vince McMahon vs. Steve Austin
- World Wrestling Federation
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Feud of the Year (1998-1999) - Vince McMahon vs. Steve Austin
- "WWE Raw - Show #097". TV.com. November 16, 1998.
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- "Over the Edge 1999 Results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
- Foley, Mick. Foley is Good: And the Real World is Faker than Wrestling (Paperback ed.). ReganBooks. p. 177. ISBN 0-06-039300-9.
- Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (Hardcover ed.). ReganBooks. p. 499. ISBN 978-0-06-039299-4.
- Foley, Mick. Foley is Good: And the Real World is Faker than Wrestling (Paperback ed.). ReganBooks. p. 98. ISBN 0-06-039300-9.
- WWE.com (Official Website of World Wrestling Entertainment)
- Mr. Vince McMahon's WWE Profile
- Shawn Michaels' WWE Profile
- Triple H's WWE Profile
- The Rock's WWE Alumni Profile
- Kane's WWE Profile
- Sgt. Slaughter's WWE Hall of Fame Profile
- Pat Patterson's WWE Hall of Fame Profile
- Gerald Brisco's WWE Hall of Fame Profile