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Matt Osborne, better known as 90s wrestling legend Doink The Clown, was found dead inside his girlfriend’s apartment in Texas earlier this week. With no weapons found at the scene and no signs of foul play, police have scheduled an autopsy and will conduct a homicide investigation to be on the safe side, but right now, most assume the death was an accident or of natural causes. Tragically, he was only fifty-five and had so much more to give.
Osborne was always a hell of a wrestler. Thanks to untold hours spent learning under his father, Tough Tony Borne, and a ruthless dedication to his chosen craft, he was considered a rising star throughout the 1980s. For years, he suplexed between headlining runs for the local territories and brief stints with the major companies (including the WWE/ WWF which booked him for Wrestlemania 1), but unfortunately, rumors of unruly out of the ring behavior often emerged, which forced him to keep starting over. Slowly but surely, men he began his career alongside like Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Ted Dibiase found incredible success, but the ultimate prize remained elusive for him. And then he decided to put on makeup.
In 1993, Osborne was hired by the WWF/ WWE on a fulltime basis to portray a character he and chairman Vince McMahon invented called Doink The Clown. For weeks, he sat at ringside of Monday Night Raw events, pulling practical jokes and biding his time before he finally emerged from the shadows and became an instant hit with fans. First as a heel, he feuded with Crush and later Bret Hart before he eventually turned into a babyface and got even more popular. Unfortunately, after less than a year with the company McMahon fired Osborne over his personal problems (allegedly drugs) and hired someone else to play the role, which must have felt like a double blow to his ego.
According to PWI Insider, Osborne continued playing Doink The Clown on the independent circuit and even in ECW for a short time, but he never could quite avoid internal conflicts or his personal problems long enough to stick, which, sadly, can be a very common story among professional wrestlers. In recent years, according to TMZ, the wrestler frequently made appearances at conventions and autograph sessions to relive the glory days with the fans who always have and always will consider him the real Doink.
Our thoughts go out to all the family members, friends and fans who were touched by Osborne's life. As a tribute, you can check out his wonderful and amusing appearance at Wrestlemania 9 below...