Here’s the fast five facts you need to know about his passing, his career and his most memorable wrestling moment.
1. He Was Found Dead By His Girlfriend
Matt Osborne (“Maniac” Matt Borne, Big Josh and the original Doink the Clown in the WWF from 1992 to 1996) passed away today at the age of 56. Reports state that his body was found unresponsive by his girlfriend in Plano, Texas. He was then pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital. Detectives believe Matt’s death was accidental, but a homicide investigation is still undergoing. Its known that Matt has struggled with his substance abuse and mental health issues in the past. Matt’s birthday was next month. He would have turned 57-years-old.
Jim Ross tweeted about Matt’s passing earlier today:
Multiple sources reporting that the talented wrestler Matt Bourne aka original Doink the Clown has passed away. No other details. RIP Matt
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) June 28, 2013
WWE issued an official statement on the unfortunate passing of Matt Osborne:
Reports indicate that Matt Osborne, aka the original Doink the Clown, has passed away. A rugged brawler in promotions like Mid-South Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling, Osborne made a major impact in WWE under the greasepaint of a prankster named Doink — one of the most enduring personas of the early ’90s.
WWE is saddened by the news of Osborne’s passing. Our deepest condolences go out to Osborne’s family, friends and fans.
One of Osborne’s final Facebook posts read:
I HAVE SOO MUCH GOING ON THIS SUMMER dON’T KNOW IF i’M COMING OR GOING! bUT……THATS THE WAY HU HUH i LIKE IT HU HUH HU HUH! mISS MY BROTHERS!!!!
2. Matt’s Father Passed Away in 2010
Back in 2010, Matt’s father Anthony Osborne aka Tough Tony Borne passed away at the age of 83 due to failing health. Anthony Osborne wrestled in the Pacific Northwest during the 1960s; he formed the tag team of Tough Tony Borne & Lonnie Mayne aka Moondog Mayne. Anthony’s greatest claim to fame is his 11 Pacific Northwest tag team titles.
3. Matt’s Most Famous Wrestling Moniker is Doink The Clown
Matt Osborne famously wrestled as the good (and at times) evil wrestling clown, Doink The Clown. During the WWF/E’s run during the early to mid-90’s, Doink The Clown wrestled on a variety of the company’s TV programs. After being released from teh company, Matt continued to wrestle under the clown gimmick around the country. His gimmick ended up becoming one of the most popular and most mimicked gimmick on the indy/major wrestling scene.
One of Doink the Clown’s last TV appearances took place on the 1,000th episode of WWE RAW. Doink appeared alongside several other WWE Legends as they trumped WWE wrestler Heath Slater. Doink (who was played by Steve Lombardi aka the Brooklyn Brawler) actually wrestled against Slater on an 2012 episode of RAW, which can be watched below:
4. He Continued To Wrestle On The Indy Circuit Later in his Career
With Doink the Clown!!! pic.twitter.com/ME794Rw2NW
— U-Gene Nick Dinsmore (@UGeneDinsmore) April 6, 2013
During the later stages of Matt Osborne’s career, he wrestled under the name Matt Borne for several independent federations. The last wrestling championship he held was the Wrecking Ball Wrestling Championship, which he won on August 8, 2010. PWInsider posted up a full career introspection on Matt Osborne. His entire run as Doink The Clown can be read below:
With the advent of the Monday Night Raw era, a slew of new personalities were introduced. The knock on WWF had been that it had become a circus among old school wrestling fans. With Osbourne, WWF now had their clown – dressed as a clown with bright green wig, white, red and blue facepaint and a colorful polka-dotted outfit, he began appearing in the audience at shows.
Over time, it was revealed that Doink was an evil clown. He would pull cruel pranks on fans at ringside and eventually, on the late Bryan “Crush” Adams, attacking him with a fake arm he pulled out of a sling. Doink was off to the races, including a Wrestlemania 9 appearance where he defeated Crush after a second, identical Doink (Steve Keirn) came from under the ring. It was twin magic well before there was a Bella Twin in sight.
The multiple Doinks became the calling card of the character and also allowed Doink to appear on multiple events taking place at the same time on the road. Steve Lombardi (the Brooklyn Brawler) would often end up playing a Doink on the road as well.
For most of 1993, Osbourne was in the WWF mix, working Bret Hart at Summerslam that year and having an extended series of matches with Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig in a tournament for the vacant Intercontinental championship.
Having done his run as a heel, the decision was made to turn Osbourne babyface, although that turn would eventually see the end of his career on a national level. Following a number of personal issues, WWF opted to let Osbourne go, instead hiring Northeastern independent wrestler Ray Apollo to portray Doink from that point on. Apollo officially debuted in a vignette at the 1993 Survivor Series. Osbourne never played the character for WWF again, with the exception of the Raw 15th Anniversary show, where his old foe Steamboat, now an agent, suggested he be brought in for the role.
Osbourne hit the indy scene as Doink almost immediately, working all over the United States as well as overseas as the character. Doink on the indy scene was a hot draw. The character was all over WWF TV, allowed Osbourne (and others who had no business playing the role) to make decent money with bookings and merchandise money.
5. His Most Memorable Moment Took Place at WrestleMania IX
Doink The Clown’s most standout moment in wrestling was his WrestleMania 9 match up against Crush. At the time, Doink played the role of the bad guy against Crush’s good guy persona. Near the conclusion of the bout, Doink’s supposed twin entered the ring. A strange, but all the more memorable moment then took place. Watch the entire match and moment for yourself by checking out the video above.