Matthew Wade Osborne (July 27, 1957 – June 28, 2013), known professionally as Matt Borne, was an American professional wrestler. Osborne was a second generation wrestler, the son of Tony Borne, and is best known as being the first wrestler to portray the character of Doink the Clown.
Osborne in 1999
|Birth name||Matthew Wade Osborne|
|Born||July 27, 1957|
Charlotte, North Carolina
|Died||June 28, 2013 (aged 55)|
|Cause of death||Drug overdose|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Big Bubba|
Doink the Clown
"Maniac" Matt Borne
|Billed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Billed weight||243 lb (110 kg)|
|Billed from||Ellwood City, Pennsylvania|
Parts Unknown (as Doink the Clown)
|Trained by||Tony Borne|
Professional wrestling careerEdit
National Wrestling Alliance (1978–1984)Edit
Under the ring name Matt Borne, Osborne debuted on December 6, 1978 and wrestled for various National Wrestling Alliance territories, most prominently for Pacific Northwest Wrestling, where he was their heavyweight and four-time tag champion. In Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling on June 6, 1980, he won his first championship, also the first of two tag titles he would hold with Buzz Sawyer. In Mid-South Wrestling, he allied with Ted DiBiase and Jim Duggan as a member of The Rat Pack, a heel stable, and won their tag title with DiBiase. In Canada, he worked for All Star Wrestling and Maple Leaf Wrestling.
World Wrestling Federation and World Class Championship Wrestling (1985–1987)Edit
Borne debuted in the WWF on March 2, 1985, wrestling Rick McGraw to a time-limit draw in the Boston Garden. He was primarily a jobber, though occasionally beat other jobbers at house shows. The highlight of this stint was losing to Ricky the dragon steamboat at the first WrestleMania in Madison Square Garden. His last match was a loss to George Wells in the Cow Palace on April 29, 1986.
In May 1986, Borne joined World Class Championship Wrestling. That September, he reformed his tag team with Buzz Sawyer under the management of Percival Pringle III to win a one-day tournament to crown new World Tag Team Champions. He also won the Texas Heavyweight Championship and defended the title at the Christmas Star Wars event against The Iron Sheik. Borne and Sawyer feuded with fellow Pringle protege Dingo Warrior after falling out with him during a six-man tag match, with Warrior turning babyface as a direct result of the incident.
World Championship Wrestling (1991–1992)Edit
In 1991, Osborne signed with World Championship Wrestling and debuted as Big Josh, an outdoorsman who danced with bears and was friends with Tommy Rich. During his stint with WCW, Osborne won the United States Tag Team Championship with Ron Simmons and the World Six-Man Tag Team Championship with Dustin Rhodes and Tom Zenk. Borne made his final pay-per-view appearance for the company on May 17, 1992 at WrestleWar, where he defeated Richard Morton; and continued to make sporadic WCW TV appearances throughout the summer of 1992 before leaving the company.
Return to WWF/E (1992–1993, 2007)Edit
After leaving WCW in 1992, Osborne returned to the World Wrestling Federation on September 21, 1992 in Manitoba, Canada at a WWF Superstars taping. Competing as himself, he defeated Bill Jordan. Borne would shortly thereafter become Doink the Clown, in a villainous clown gimmick that would frequently pull tricks on wrestlers at ringside as well as fans. He would also briefly use the character in United States Wrestling Association in February before returning to WWF television in March. Soon after his televised return, he began feuding with Crush after attacking him with a prosthetic arm on an episode of Superstars of Wrestling, which subsequently resulted in a match at WrestleMania IX. During this match, another Doink (Steve Keirn) came out from under the ring and attacked Crush with another prosthetic arm, allowing the real Doink to pin Crush.
In the spring of 1993, Doink was given the opportunity to enter the King of the Ring tournament, facing Mr. Perfect in the qualifying round. After two time-limit draws, Mr. Perfect defeated Doink in their third match. At the Pay Per View itself, Doink (or rather, two Doinks) distracted Crush causing him to lose to Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels. Doink spent the summer months of 1993 continuing his feud with Crush as well as successful house show runs against Marty Jannetty and the 1-2-3 Kid, as well as occasionally losing to higher profile opponents like Bret Hart or Tatanka. At SummerSlam, Jerry Lawler hired Doink to wrestle Hart as he feigned injury, which "the Hitman" won by disqualification when Lawler interfered. Several days later, Doink turned against Lawler, by inciting a mocking chant from the fans directed at him. On the September 13, 1993 Raw, Doink poured a pail of water over Bobby Heenan, marking his fan favorite turn. On a December episode of Raw, Doink was given a present from Santa Claus in the form of a midget in the Doink costume, which he named Dink. Shortly afterward, however, Osborne was fired for re-occurring drug abuses. His final TV appearance in the WWF for that era was on the December 27th 1993 episode of Raw. Osborne cited in a shoot interview that Bam Bam Bigelow did not like putting over Osborne. Osborne said this subsequently led to Bigelow snitching on him for smoking weed in the hallway of his hotel and getting him fired from the WWF. Following his departure, Doink was played by Ray Licameli (also known as Ray Apollo).
Extreme Championship Wrestling (1994)Edit
Following his departure from the WWF, Borne appeared in Extreme Championship Wrestling for a handful of matches as Doink. However, the fans hated this, as ECW was viewed as an alternative to the WWF and WCW and seeing a gimmick like this made Doink a villain for a completely different reason.
After Doink lost a match to then-World Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas, Douglas went on to criticize Vince McMahon for turning a talented wrestler like Borne into a comic relief character, and claimed that he knew how to bring out Borne's full potential. Borne then changed his ring name to Borne Again, and continued wearing the clown suit, albeit without the wig, wearing a minimal amount of face paint, as well as growing out his hair and beard. After beating his opponents, he would make them dress in clown outfits. However, his tenure with the company was short-lived due to personal problems.
Since leaving ECW, Osborne wrestled on the independent circuit, for several reunion shows and for various independent promotions under his Matt Borne ring name. In 2005, at WrestleReunion II Borne participated in an eight-man tag team match alongside Andrew Martin, Steve Corino and The Masked Superstar. However, his team lost to Dusty Rhodes, The Blue Meanie, Tom Prichard and D'Lo Brown. In early 2010, Osborne reinvented the Doink character to resemble Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight, nicknaming the incarnation 'Reborne Again'. The new character debuted on March 27 for ISPW in New Jersey. On May 23, 2010 Doink the Clown, portrayed by Dusty Wolfe, interfered against Skandor Akbar and his men Dr. Knuckles and Rommel. This caused them to lose the Wrecking Ball Wrestling tag titles. In retaliation Akbar called on the original Doink (Matt Borne). They were scheduled to meet on August 15, 2010. At that time Wolfe no-showed the event to avoid the wrath of Borne. On August 8, 2010, Borne won the Wrecking Ball Wrestling Championship. After this, Osborne returned to a full-time schedule, continuing to compete on a semi-regular basis all over the United States for the last several years until a few days before his death on June 28, 2013.
Osborne was found dead on June 28, 2013, in the Plano, Texas apartment he lived in. Though no weapons were found near his body, and police said the death appeared accidental, they launched a precautionary homicide investigation. The cause of death was later determined to be an accidental overdose of morphine and hydrocodone. He also suffered from heart disease, which had been a contributing factor in his death.
In June 2015, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against WWE, alleging that "WWE created a culture of violence and sacrificed Matt Osborne’s brain for its own profit" which "led to further illnesses and injuries, including depression and drug abuse, which ultimately resulted in his untimely death." WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt said the suit was without merit and blamed the attorneys for taking advantage of the families involved. The suit was filed by Michelle James, the mother of two of Osborne's four children, and was litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE. The lawsuit was dismissed by US District Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant, who ruled that they failed to show that his death was linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
- International Wrestling Association
- IWA United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling / World Championship Wrestling
- Mid-South Wrestling Association
- New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2014
- Pacific Northwest Wrestling / Championship Wrestling USA
- Championship Wrestling International Alliance World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Championship Wrestling USA Television Championship (1 time)
- NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Steve Regal (2) and Rip Oliver (2)
- Portland Wrestling
- Portland Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Brian Cox
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Ring Around The Northwest Newsletter
- Texas Wrestling Federation
- TWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Texas Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2011
- Ultimate Wrestling
- UW Phantom Championship (1 time)
- United States Wrestling League
- USWL Unified World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- World Class Wrestling Association
- Wrecking Ball Wrestling
- "Online World of Wrestling Profiles: Matt Borne". Retrieved 2007-09-15.
- "Cagematch profile".
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated, March 1993 issue, p.27.
- "Dead Wrestler Of The Week: "Maniac" Matt Borne, AKA Doink The Clown". deadspin.com. July 3, 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
- Oliver, Greg (April 12, 2010). "Doink the Clown 'Reborne Again'". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- Oliver, Greg. "Borne no longer a Maniac or Clown". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
- Turnbuckle Tales with Matt Borne
- Duggan, Jim & Scott E. Williams (2012). Hacksaw: The Jim Duggan Story. Triumph Books. p. 54. ISBN 1600786863.
- "The 14 WWE matches fought by Matt Osborne in 1986". WrestlingData.com. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- "Cagematch match listings, page 1". Cagematch.de.
- PWI Centrefold - The Ultimate Warrior, Pro Wrestling Illustrated June 1988
- "Cagematch match listings, page 2". Cagematch.de.
- "WCW SATURDAY NIGHT 07-04-92".
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-21. Retrieved 2015-06-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Cagematch match listings, page 3". Cagematch.de.
- Rubin, Roger (1996-07-07). "School of Hard Knocks: A Daily News Reporter Gets a Serious Education Learning the Professional Wrestling Ropes". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2018-04-10.
- "Professional wrestler Licameli enjoys life as Doink the Clown". New Jersey Hills Media Group. 2001-11-15. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
- "Cagematch match listings, page 4". Cagematch.de.
- Carter, Madison. "Weird World of Wrestling: Borne Again". Archived from the original on 2003-06-08. Retrieved 2007-09-15.
- Martin, William (May 26, 2010). "Wrecking Ball Wrestling results from 5/23 featuring Skandar Akbar". Indy Wrestling News. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2010-08-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Oliver, Greg (June 28, 2013). "Matt Borne, original Doink the Clown, dead at 56". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- "Doink the Clown Dead -- Ex-WWE Star Dies at 55". TMZ.
- "Wrestler Doink the Clown died of accidental drug overdose". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. July 19, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- Marissa Payne (June 27, 2015). "Family of pro wrestler Matt Osborne sues WWE, claiming brain trauma led to his death". Washington Post. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- "WWE News: Finn Balor Network special, Matt Osborne family lawsuit, RAW main event". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. June 27, 2015. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
- Hohler, Bob (November 12, 2016). "Former WWE diva joins lawsuit, alleges sexual abuse, brain injuries". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "NWA/WCW United States Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "Solie's Title Histories: WCW - WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING". solie.org. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "Mid-South Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2015-02-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "CIWA World Heavyweight Title (Oregon / Washington)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "CWUSA Television Title (Oregon / Washington)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- Rodgers, Mike (2004). "Regional Territories: PNW #16 Page #2". KayfabeMemories.com.
- "USWA World Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "Texas Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "WCWA World Tag Team Title (Texas)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "Year End Awards". Wrecking Ball Wrestling. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-09-26.