“It’s me Austin! It’s me Austin! It was me all along, Austin! You all bought it!” Vince McMahon yelled this through the arena as he revealed himself as the Undertaker’s Higher Power as a part of the Ministry of Darkness and Corporate Ministry angle, 20 years ago today. Following almost a year of buildup, the Ministry would quickly vanish all together, but it was certainly one of the most memorable angles in the history of wrestling.
Ministry of Darkness Grand Reveal 20 Years Later
The Undertaker formed his Ministry of Darkness at Judgement Day: In Your House when Paul Bearer would turn on Kane and rejoin “The Deadman”. Undertaker would officially announce the Ministry of Darkness as a “plague of evil” that would be released upon Raw the following night on the October 19th, 1998 edition of Raw. As the Ministry of Darkness cast a cloud over the WWE, Undertaker would become a problem for everyone, especially Kane and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The Undertaker would force Steve Austin to lose his WWE Championship to The Rock due to him hitting him in the head with a shovel, causing a concussion. The concussion story would lead to him not only losing his WWE Championship but also heading to the hospital to try and recover. On the November 23 show, The Undertaker would abduct Austin from his hospital room in hopes of burying him alive and even tried to embalm him.
Steve Austin and Kane would continue to try and stop the Undertaker as he tried to continuously get them to be part of the Ministry. Undertaker would attempt to send his brother Kane to a mental institution following him saving Austin. This would not turn out for Undertaker in the end when he would be fooled into heading to the mental institution following Stone Cold placing the mask of Kane on to the Undertaker without Paul Bearer and the workers would bring him in.
This would only anger the Undertaker as he tied him down onto his symbol, leading the two men to a Buried Alive Match at Rock Bottom: In Your House. On the December 13 show, Kane would help Austin avoid being Buried Alive, resulting in the Undertaker getting buried. As the Undertaker was off of television for the weeks coming, The Acolytes made up of Bradshaw and Farooq would become members of the Ministry. They would abduct Dennis Knight on December 28 and bring him to “He” who would eventually turn out to be the returning Undertaker.
Knight would be renamed Mideon as Undertaker’s new servant, becoming a member of the Ministry along with the Acolytes. In no way would the Ministry be done, as they would only continue growing by adding Mabel at the Royal Rumble of ’99. In doing so, much like Knight, would be renamed as Viscera. The Ministry was getting stronger and more powerful, continuing by adding The Brood to bolster them one more time in hopes of having what it would take to remove Vince McMahon from power and allow the Undertaker to own the WWE in the meantime.
This would lead to the remembered burning of the teddy bear following the Undertaker’s victory over Kane in the second Inferno Match. He would have Vince on his knees in grief as the teddy bear, which would be Stephanie McMahon’s from her childhood, would continue to burn. This would be when the “greater power” that the Undertaker answered to. This would begin to be the question as to who this higher power was before it was revealed, as it was said to be holding the key to Vince’s heart and soul.
Vince would have Big Bossmsan be the enforcer to try and take out the Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell at WrestleMania XV. This would be the show where Big Boss Man would lose and eventually be hung by a noose. Ken Shamrock would be Vince’s next help to try and stomp out the Undertaker, but it would not work. The mystery woman throughout all of this would be Stephanie McMahon as the Undertaker looked to hopefully marry her at the “Black Wedding” to become an owner of the WWE through marriage. Steve Austin would manage to disrupt and ruin the wedding however, stopping the Undertaker from gaining power.
On April 29, 1999, Undertaker would join forces with Shane McMahon to create the Corporate Ministry, looked at as even more powerful than the Ministry of Darkness. It would just be a week later on June 7, 20 years from today that Vince would reveal himself as that “Higher Power”. The angle of the Ministry of Darkness is forever remembered for its role as a part of the Attitude Era.