Clowns, some call them funny, friendly, kind of creepy, and just damn scary. I’m not sure what Vince McMahon was thinking when he created the character of Doink the Clown, but I wish he had reconsidered. Nonetheless, let’s examine the history of one of the worst ideas ever and the 7 men that wore that makeup. Doink, ya’ll!
Matt Osbourne had already been wrestling for 15 years when he left the WCW for the WWF in 1992. In early 1993, the villainous clown Doink began appearing on WWF television as a seemingly sadistic prankster. He would tease fans and opponents alike, setting up gags to belittle them whenever possible. He tripped the Big Boss Man with a wire and he dumped water on Marty Janetty (who can blame him really?). He entered a program with Crush that culminated in a match at WrestleMania IX which Doink won thanks to the 1st appearance of the 2nd Doink (did you get that?) played by Steve Keirn and a prosthetic arm.
Doink would also take on Bret Hart at that year’s SummerSlam event, which he lost of course. Soon after, Doink made a pointless face turn when he embarrassed Jerry Lawler on WWF Wrestling Challenge. Before you knew it, Doink was a fan favorite, playing the same silly gags as always, just on the company’s top heels. But Matt Osbourne was out, after numerous drug abuses, and was replaced by Ray Apollo. A new man was under the makeup, and hey, a new partner was by his side…..Dink!
The pair was popular with the fans (for some reason), and even were joined by 2 other midget wrestlers named Pink and Wink. (I can’t make this stuff up) The quartet took on Lawler and 3 midget wrestlers of his own named (god help me) Queazy, Cheezy, and Sleazy. Doink and Dink also wrestled a tag match against Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon at WrestleMania X. However, after that, Doink was relegated to the job squad and put over just about everyone in the locker room. His last full match on TV was against HHH in 1995, and, not to ruin it for you, the clown lost.
The mad clown wasn’t totally gone however, Osbourne, as Matt Borne became Doink a second time for ECW for a short period in 1996, working a program with “The Franchise” Shane Douglas. Doink then surfaced once again on WWF TV at the 1997 Slammy Awards, where he was beaten mercilessly by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as the crown chanted “Kill the Clown”! Oh the times, they were a changin’!
But, the crazy prankster was back again in 2001, when Chris Jericho donned the makeup to sneak attack William Regal. Nick Dinsmore clowned up at WWF Vengance in 2003, and again on a SmackDown in July that same year where he was taken apart by Chris Benoit. In 2005, Steve Lombardi traded in his equally bad Brooklyn Brawler gimmick for the clown makeup, losing to Rob Conway on RAW. Lombardi made sporadic appearances on WWE television over the next 3 years. His last time was on the 1000th episode of RAW when he joined numerous other WWE “Legends” in beating Heath Slater senseless.
Bad gimmicks, they are a big part of the business, for every Stone Cold or HBK or HHH, there are 10 Red Roosters, Goldusts, Duke “the Dumpster” Drozes, or Gobble-de-Gookers. (Ok, maybe not that one) But, Matt Osbourne, Steve Keirn, and others have a place in our hearts because of these, or maybe in spite of them. Just sit back and laugh when you see them, or, go get a beer. Til next time, keep your shoulders off the mat!