It is with a heavy heart that we celebrate the career of the late Matt Osborne, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 56 (details here). While Osborne was a terrific wrestler on the indy scene and could cut a great promo, he will always be remembered to casual fans as "Doink the Clown," one of the most memorable pro wrestling characters from the early nineties.
And for good reason.
Like any good heel stuck with a goofy gimmick, sometimes the odds can be overcome if the talent knows how to play it straight. That's exactly what Osborne did when he was paired off with Brian Adams, formerly "Crush" of "Demolition," before doing the whole surfing-Hawaiian thing.
Doink never acted like he was in on the joke, or keen to how silly he looked.
Instead, he ran with it and pulled off some hilarious pranks on the ringside audience, as well as a few good gags on fellow WWE superstars Marty Jannetty and Big Boss Man. But my favorite was his attack on Crush using a prosthetic arm, which he used to "clown" the larger man and upset a fan with amazing hair.
What amazed me in this clip is how many superstars it featured who are now deceased, including Adams and the legendary Randy "Macho Man" Savage. WWE would eventually overexpose the Doink character (remember Team Doink at Survivor Series?) and Osborne would battle his own personal demons, but for awhile there, it was quite the circus.