Friday, June 28, 2013

Second generation professional wrestler Matt Borne, a.k.a. former WWF(E) Superstar THE ORIGINAL Doink The Clown, passes away

(July 27th, 1957-
June 28th, 2013) 

Mike Johnson

Matt Osbourne,
better known as "Maniac" Matt Borne,
Big Josh
and the original Doink the Clown
in the WWF,
has passed away.

Details on his passing
are still developing.

Osbourne was found this morning in Texas,
where he had been staying of late,
by his girlfriend.
Osbourne would have turned 57
next month.

A second generation star,
Osbourne was the son of
"Tough" Tony Borne,
a star who challenged
for the NWA World title
during his career
and was most prominently known
in the Texas and Pacific Northwest territories.
It was that same Northwest region
that Osbourne debuted
after being trained by his father,
working for Don Owen's promotion.

Billed as "Maniac" Matt Borne,
he was a tough, bruiser of a wrestler
and was a natural for the business.
It was his streak for wild behavior
outside the ring
that often prevented him
from having big money runs
in the business
and causing the premature end
of a number of pushes
in different companies.

After making his name,
Osbourne worked a number of different territories,
including Mid-South Wrestling,
where he teamed with Ted DiBiase
and Hacksaw Duggan as babyfaces
known as the "Ratpack",
playing off the famous entertain trio of the era
by the same name.
He and Duggan actually ended up having heat
with each other
during that time period,
which actually turned into a legitimate shoot decades later
during a PWS independent event
in New Jersey just a few years back.

Osbourne moved to
Georgia Championship Wrestling,
where he and Arn Anderson were tapped
to become a top duo there.
Allegations against Osbourne
and a potential legal case
led to his quick exit.

Osbourne's travels took him to the WWF
in the early 1980s
and he worked the first Wrestlemania card,
losing to Ricky Steamboat,
who had just started with the promotion.

He wasn't long for WWF
and Osbourne moved around
for most of the 1980s
working for all the major territories
as they dried up one by one.
He had a big push
in World Class Championship Wrestling,
teaming with Buzz Sawyer
to win the World Class Tag straps
and also had a run
as The Texas Heavyweight champion.
But, the territories were fewer and fewer
as the 80s went on,
making it harder and harder to find work,
so the journey never ended for the journeyman.

Osbourne returned to national TV
was brought in by Dusty Rhodes
to World Championship Wrestling
in 1991.
Although he was an old school guy
in how he protected the business
and presented himself,
this time,
he was not Matt Borne.
Instead, he was given a makeover
and became Big Josh.
His past in the business
was completely ignored
as he morphed into a fan turned wrestler.
The idea was he was a simple country outdoorsman,
complete with an entrance accompanied by bears
on major PPVs.
If you think Hillbilly Jim in the 1980s WWF,
it was similar in vein to Big Josh.

While in WCW,
Osbourne had several title runs
 (United States tag belts with Ron Simmons
and a WCW Six Man Tag run
with Z-Man and Dustin Rhodes)
but was never pushed as anything more
than just an undercard babyface character.
That sort of character seemed out of place in WCW,
even in 1991
where the company was floundering creatively
after the loss of Ric Flair.
Osbourne left the company after a year. 

Osbourne was brought back to the WWF in 1993.
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.

Osbourne also had a short run in the original ECW,
debuting as Doink in a tournament for the NWA title.
Doink was a mystery opponent for ECW mascot 911,
who quickly destroyed him
with a series of chokeslams.
This allowed Paul Heyman to rip on the WWF
by declaring that this,
"Wasn't the circus, it was E-C-W!"
That night,
Shane Douglas won and rejected the NWA title,
instead declaring the ECW belt the
"ECW World Heavyweight championship"
and that he was going to bring the sport
back to pro wrestling.

As part of that plan,
initially was Matt Borne.
Christened "Borne Again",
the idea was that Douglas had brought the wrestler
back out of the clown.
Borne was muscle for Douglas and worked alongside him
for several months.
When it came time for ECW's big November to Remember weekend,
Osbourne had overseas dates that conflicted.
He later claimed in an interview here
that he was told by Paul Heyman
to take the overseas dates,
but when he returned,
there was no longer a spot for him.

Over the ensuing years,
Osbourne continued to be an old school journeyman wrestler,
working independents where he could find bookings,
making the convention circuit appearances
and working as a mentor and trainer
to different wrestlers in areas
where he was located
at different times.
He also tried his hand in promoting
in the Garfield, NJ area
a few years back.

All of us here
at Wrestling News
would like to extend our most sincere,
heartfelt condolences
to the family and friends
of the late, great Matt Borne,
Doink The Clown.  


No comments: