YMMV: Ministry of Darkness

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: The theory has been put forth that Undertaker himself was Brainwashed and Crazy during this period, being made to believe he started the fire that killed his parents and that he was an all-powerful messiah, and perhaps Paul Bearer and Vince McMahon were behind the brainwashing.
  • Crowning Music Of Awesome: Undertaker's Ministry theme, The Brood's theme, even the Corporate Ministry theme (a Dark Reprise of McMahon's theme).
  • Evil Is Cool: The Undertaker personified this trope during his Ministry era.
  • Funny Moment: During a backstage segment, the Undertaker accidentally referred to his master as the "Hower Power". Made more hilarious by the fact that it's the Undertaker in his darkest persona and that he just continued the promo as if nothing happened.
    • This might be because, as one could see in his early years with Paul Bearer, Undertaker simply does not Corpse. No pun intended.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Trying to take over the WWF by marrying Stephanie McMahon? Not a bad idea...
  • Ho Yay: Paul Bearer would often give Mideon shoulder massages during the long opening segments.
  • It Was His Sled: Does anybody reading this NOT know who the Higher Power was?!
  • Jump the Shark: Most agree, including Undertaker himself, that it Jumped the Shark once the Higher Power was revealed.
    • The Undertaker's issue was being demoted to the role of Vince McMahon's Dragon, however it would have happened regardless of who the Higher Power wound up being, as even before The Reveal the story become centered around the Higher Power rather than Undertaker. Not to mention that there are also many fans who felt that Vince was the best choice for the Higher Power and feel that any of the other potential candidates wouldn't have worked out too well and would have been examples of this trope.
    • It was more the fact that Vince being the Higher Power negated the entire Stephanie kidnapping angle, as it was revealed that Vince was just "acting" worried about Stephanie and faking his Villainous Breakdown the entire time (which of course he was in Real Life, but it was harmful to kayfabe).
    • The worst part may not have been who the man was so much as what the plan was. All this was explained as being for the sole purpose of screwing "Stone Cold" Steve Austin out of the WWF title—which Austin didn't even have at the time the story started! And it's just as likely in retrospect that this would've been the stated purpose for whoever was in the role as the most logical explanation—that the "Higher Power" had become deluded into thinking themselves a God of Evil, ala Vince McMahon himself seven years later!
    • In short, most people feel that the Ministry would have been much better if there was no Higher Power..
  • Memetic Mutation: "IT'S ME AUSTIN!!!! IT'S ME AUSTIN!!! IT WAS ME ALL ALONG AUSTIN!!!"
  • Moral Event Horizon: If the Undertaker didn't cross it when he admitted that he killed his own parents and burned his brother, or even when he tried to embalm Austin alive, he certainly did when he abducted people such as Ryan Shamrock and Stephanie. Vince McMahon being the mastermind of the whole thing was HIS crossing of the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Shocking Swerve: The Reveal of the Higher Power.
  • What an Idiot: The WWF set up Don Callis as a Lovecraftian cult leader called the Jackyl who commanded several different stables one after the other, potentially on the way to becoming the Higher Power. They noticed that he was getting over somewhat, but the talent he was working with wasn't. Right at the turning point where the Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness talk started translating into a new Power Stable, they blamed Callis for getting over at the expense of the talent and fired him for it—which sounds all well and good, except for the reasons why this made NO sense whatsoever.
    #1: They literally set him up to cut his promos over the matches that the guys in his stables were wrestling, none of whom would even look or dress to match him at all—effectively rendering the matches themselves, and thus the guys wrestling them, completely worthless. Even assuming good faith and simple lack of forethought on the part of creative, they still had no one to blame but themselves for Callis getting over and his wrestlers not.
    #2: If the entire goal was for the Jackyl to ascend to a Higher Power that could command the fealty of a demonic army led by the Undertaker, then of course he wouldn't truly care about a military interrogation unit with no real commanding officer or a parade of carnival freaks—they were just gateway groups the character was stepping over to spread his platform! These stables were not created with any intention of getting over as serious threats, so why would a guy who's out to become the leader of the WWF even care about them?
    #3: The above factors were completely averted once Faarooq and Bradshaw became Jackyl's Acolytes. The symbols on their tights and painted on their chests were part of his gimmick lore. He was talking during their matches, but on color commentary rather than on the mic or on an elevated platform. He referenced the violent destruction of the Acolytes and the "age of tribulation" that would soon be ushered in, directly foreshadowing his potential connection to the Ministry and genuinely propping up what his guys were doing. And surprise, surprise, they were actually getting over (and still continued to get over once he was let go, but he certainly wasn't hurting their chances).
    #4: There was no solid Plan B waiting in the back after Jackyl was dropped. Look up What Could Have Been in the Trivia section for the details, but in short, Mick Foley turned it down because of injury and discontinuity, Jake the Snake was in NO condition to make it work, and Stephanie, who'd never been an on-screen character before this angle, couldn't have been anything more than a passing thought for the role. In the end, what we got was Vince McMahon supposedly orchestrating the torture of his own precious daughter, having his own prodigal son go on a potentially all-consuming mad power trip to the point of completely disrespecting his beloved mother as part of the act, obviously putting his own wedded wife through terrible mental anguish, reshuffling his own Corporation stable and trusting part of its control in the hands of a vicious reaper who within the past year had literally broken his leg for not handing him the WWF Championship—all just to get said Championship off of Steve Austin, who didn't even have it by the start of Vince's plan!