Matt Osbourne – better known as “Maniac” Matt Borne, Big Josh and the original Doink the Clown in the WWF – has passed away, according to reports.
Details on his passing are still developing. but PWInsider.com has confirm Osbourne was found this morning in Texas, where he had been staying of late, by his girlfriend.
Under the ring name Matt Bourne, Osborne debuted on December 6, 1978 and began wrestling for many independent promotions, most prominently for Portland Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling, where he was allied with Ted DiBiase and Jim Duggan as a member of the “Rat Pack” faction. While performing on the indies, Osborne competed against Ricky Steamboat at the first WrestleMania in Madison Square Garden.
In early 1986, Borne joined World Class Championship Wrestling. Upon debuting for WCCW, Borne teamed with Buzz Sawyer to win a one-day tournament to crown new World Tag Team Champions. He would also win the Texas Heavyweight Championship and defended the title at the Christmas Star Wars event against The Iron Sheik.
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. Bourne made his final pay-per-view appearance for the company on May 17, 1992 at the pay-per-view WrestleWar, where he defeated Richard Morton. On the May 23 episode of WorldWide, he made his final appearance with the company as he defeated Tracy Smothers.
After leaving WCW in 1992, Osborne debuted for the World Wrestling Federation in late 1992 and began competing in dark matches as himself before becoming Doink the Clown, a villainous clown character that would frequently pull tricks on wrestlers at ringside as well as fans. Osborne was fired in the fall of 1993 for re-occurring drug abuses.
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 losing a match to then-World Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas, Douglas would go 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 had wrestled on the independent circuit at several reunion shows and for various independent promotion under his Matt Borne ring name.