Wrestling: Doink the Clown

Doink the Clown: And then I look at their little smiles... and I like to just take those smiles right away. A-ha-ha-ha."
WWF Superstars, January 9, 1993

A second Doink (Steve Keirn) helps out the first Doink against Crush at WrestleMania IX

Doink the Clown is a Professional Wrestling gimmick that first appeared in WWE in late 1992 and lasted into 1995. He started out as a vicious Heel played by veteran "Maniac" Matt Borne. The second Doink, also evil, was played by veteran Steve Keirn, who had last been seen as Skinner. Sometime after Doink's first PPV loss, to Bret "The Hitman" Hart by DQ at SummerSlam 1993, the gimmick started becoming popular. Borne left in October 1993 due to drug/alcohol problems, and was replaced. Doink was turned face around this time, with first Steve "Brooklyn Brawler" Lombardi and then Ray Licachelli (a.k.a. Ray Apollo or Gary Fall) taking on the gimmick full time. The face turn, complete with a guy playing Santa Claus giving Doink his midget wrestler Sidekick Dink, is generally acknowledged as the moment that killed off everything that had made Doink so effective.

Matt Osborne, the man behind the original Doink the Clown was found dead on June 28th 2013 due to an accidental overdose of morphine and hydrocodone.

There is a good writeup about the gimmick's history at The Other Wiki.

Not to be confused with The Thing That Goes Doink.

"Evil Clown Tropes":

  • Arch-Enemy: (as a heel): Crush, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig; (as a face): Bam Bam Bigelow, Luna Vachon, Jerry "The King" Lawler
  • Ax-Crazy: As a heel.
  • Circus of Fear: Of course.
  • Demoted to Extra: The gimmick was jobbed out into 1995, with the definitive example of the burial happening on the August 14th episode of Raw. Waylon Mercy, a Heel, got a huge Face reaction amidst chants of "Kill the Clown! Kill the Clown!"
  • Downer Ending: Matt Osborne's death at 56 on June 28, 2013.
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: Doink just started showing up in the crowd, with no buildup, no background, no explanation, no clue as to his motivations.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Doink had been making appearances in the crowd during matches starting back in October and playing simple pranks on wrestlers (dousing Bam Bam Bigelow with confetti, leaving Banana Peels on the floor for Bob Backlund to slip on after a match, using a tripwire on the Big Bossman, sticking a mop in Tatanka's face, putting a "KICK ME" sign on Lance Cassidy [Steve Armstrong]'s jacket and kicking him, etc.) This changed on the January 16, 1993 (taped December 14, 1992) episode of WWF Superstars. After winning a Squash, Crush confronted Doink about the pranks he had been pulling on kids in the audience, grabbing him by the arm and giving him a good shake. Afterwards, Doink appeared another time or two with his arm in a sling before he encountered Crush again, pleaded with him not to hurt him again, and then offered Crush a flower, which he accepted. As Crush handed the flower to a fan, Doink pulled the (fake) arm right out of its socket and beat up Crush with it. This was considered so shocking that even commentator Jerry "The King" Lawler, who normally endorsed whatever the heels did, had to say that Doink had gone over the line, though it DID take some prompting by Randy Savage.
    • During Doink's TV in-ring debut, a squash on the January 31 (taped January 4), 1993 Wrestling Challenge, announcer Gorilla Monsoon said that the fake arm "was lined with lead" and "weighed about 35 lbs.," prompting commentator Bobby "The Brain" Heenan to say, with no discernible irony, "Now that's not funny."
  • Expy: It wasn't explicit, but, Borne drew on the jokester personality of "Moondog" Lonnie Mayne, who had teamed with Borne's father Tony in the old NWA Pacific Northwest territory. Unfortunately, Mayne was an alcoholic, and Borne's own demons would derail his run.
  • Facial Markings
  • Finishing Move: Stump Puller, Whoopie Cushion
  • Large Ham: He's an evil clown, what would you expect, subtlety?
  • Legacy Character
  • Me's a Crowd: Sometimes there would be multiple Doinks at once.
  • Parts Unknown: "The Circus," "Circus City"
  • Ring Oldies: Borne and Keirn both started in the 1970s.
  • Shout-Out: In 2010, Matt Borne changed the gimmick's facepaint design to resemble that of The Joker in The Dark Knight. Playing off his "Borne Again" run in ECW, where he had shed the gimmick, he called this new version "Reborne Again."
  • Smoking Is Cool: Sometimes appeared with cigars as a heel.
  • Squash Match: Due to the potential for his face paint to run, many of his matches fell under this category.
  • Weapon of Choice: Fake arm, confetti, bucket of water, mop, big hammer
  • You Gotta Have Green Hair