Matt Osbourne, better known as Matt Borne, Big Josh and the original Doink the Clown, has passed away aged 55.
Osbourne wrestled as Big Josh in WCW in the early 90s. Portrayed as a fan-turned-wrestler who was also a lumberjack, he stayed in the midcard, winning the United States Tag-Team Championship and the Six-Man Tag-Team Championship, before leaving the company in 1992.
A year later, he went to the WWF to become the character he would synonymous with. Adorned in make-up and a green wig, Borne became Doink the Clown. Originally showing up in the crowd at live events, he was eventually revealed to be an evil clown, playing pranks on fans and wrestlers. This led him to his first feud in the company, with Brian ‘Crush’ Adams, culminating in their infamous WrestleMania 9 match which featured the debut of the ‘two Doinks’ gimmick. Later that year, he worked Bret Hart at SummerSlam, and also Curt Hennig in a series of matches.
Following some personal issues, Borne left the company, with Doink now being played by Ray Apollo. Borne took the Doink act on the road all over the United States, and with the character still all over WWF TV, he was a big draw on the independent circuit. He also had a short run in ECW, first under the green hair and makeup, and then as Matt Borne, acting as muscle for ECW champion Shane Douglas.
He returned to WWE for one night only on the Raw 15th Anniversary show, when Ricky Steamboat suggested Borne be brought back for the night to play the famous clown.
WWE have issued a statement on Osbourne’s passing;
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.
Personally, I loved evil Doink. It was a genuinely interesting and fun character, and at times actually was the highlight of WWF TV in the early days of Monday Night Raw.
We at The Palace of Wisdom would like to express our deepest condolences to Osbourne’s family, friends and fans.