When I tried this I received a 500 Internal Server Error on the backend,
of course you did. that could have been solved. thats why "resetting your mysql database" worked. There are plugin options in the database -- those were all you needed to address.
and the entire front-end of my blog disappeared.
of course it did. thats because you had customized your theme, adding plugin code. Thats fixed my changing to the default theme, and what I mentioned above.
I'm struggling to see where the plugin conflict shows up on your computer.
nothing shows up on my computer. I looked at your plugins, I read the readmes. There was more than one "lets mess with the wordpress admin area" plugin in that directory. The very first step in debugging anything like what you describe is disabling your plugins.
Because without doing so, you cannot possibly conclude this,
I feel there may be a wordpress-side bug which is the underlying cause of this
Because history has proven that 99.99999% of user issues lie with a plugin.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate you taking the time to try to help, but I'm just not seeing what you see.
Ive been on these forums for 4+ years, its experience.
It's unfortunate that you didnt come back, update the situation, and wait for a reply from someone. Hopefully you made a backup of your current db before removing it. In which case, at least, you arent really "starting over".