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Ministry of Darkness

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The Ministry of Darkness was a professional wrestling stable in the World Wrestling Federation during 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. They were not the first Satanic themed wrestling stable, however, as Kevin Sullivan had previously led several variations of the Army of Darkness stable, starting in Florida Championship Wrestling in the late 1970s.


In October 1998 at Judgment Day: In Your House pay-per-view show, Paul Bearer turned his back on Kane and rejoined The Undertaker, who began prophecizing that the Ministry of Darkness and a "plague of evil" would be unleashed on the WWF towards the end of 1998 thus making Undertaker a heel. In the show, the Undertaker continued to feud with Kane and Steve Austin, which involved several controversial. Throughout the PPV, the Undertaker appeared attempted to have Austin embalmed alive, have Kane committed to a mental asylum, and crucify Austin. Undertaker's evil and satanic plans were delayed when he lost a Buried Alive match to Steve Austin at In Your House: Rock Bottom and 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 "Hell." Weeks later, "He" turned out to be a new, druid-like Undertaker, who proceeded to initiate Knight as his servant with a ritual, rechristening him as Mideon.

At the Royal Rumble 1999, the Undertaker, Mideon, and The Acolytes abducted the 485-pound Mabel, who was renamed Viscera the next night on RAW Is War. 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 oust Vince McMahon and take over the World Wrestling Federation.

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. 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 "higher power", and continued to reference this 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 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 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.

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