Matt Osbourne, who wrestled in the territories as Matt Borne and in the WWE as Doink the Clown, died at the age of 55. According to WWE.com, Matt Bourne died on June 28.
From the WWE:
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.
While most fans know Bourne as Doink, he built a solid reputation in the NWA territories, the son of legendary wrestler Tough Tony Bourne. He reached his largest levels of success in the Pacific Northwest, wrestling in the Oregon area. It was the same territory that brought the world stars like Billy Jack Haynes and Rowdy Roddy Piper.
From there, he moved on to the Mid South promotion ran by Cowboy Bill Watts, one of the toughest, most popular territories in the ‘70s and ‘80s. There, he teamed up with future WWE stars Ted DiBiase and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He was supposed to move on to Jim Crockett’s Georgia promotions to team with Arn Anderson, but that fell through.
Finally, he made a stop in World Class Championship Wrestling down in Texas, where he teamed up with another tough wrestler who died before his time named Buzz Sawyer.
After that, Bourne moved into WCW as the territories began to dry up. He teamed with Ron Simmons (Farooq) and Dustin Rhodes (Goldust) while there and then moved to the WWE, where he reached his greatest levels of popularity as a sinister clown named Doink.
Originally, Doink the Clown was an evil clown, someone who pulled mean pranks and feuded with the mid-level babyfaces. Soon, the WWE chose to make him a face, a good guy clown, and that marked the end of his popularity, causing him to eventually fade from the national scene outside of various special appearances. He did have a small stay in ECW, but has only been a journeyman wrestler since then.
The cause of death for Matt Osbourne is unknown at this time, but whether it was his time as Maniac Matt Bourne or as Doink the Clown, he left memories for wrestling fans that will last a lifetime.
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