Former ECW, WCW, and WWF star, the first “Doink the Clown” ‘Maniac’ Matt Borne joined Kayfabe Wrestling Radio Tuesday night where he discussed being a second generational wrestler and if that’s what he always wanted, coming up in the Portland territory, working for Bill Watts in the Mid-South Territory, participating in the first WrestleMania event, working with World Class Championship Wrestling, getting pitched the idea of being Doink the Clown, working with Scott Hall, working outdoors at WrestleMania IX, what three wrestlers he enjoyed working with most, some of the infamous ribs he saw from Curt Hennig and Mr. Fuji and much more.
Working for Bill Watts in the Mid South Territory: “Well, Bill Watts when he was first starting in the business, used to come to my dad and my dad, I don’t know what hand he had planned with Watts and breaking Watts into the business, but Bill Watts and my dad were friends. Bill was very much a gentleman when he was young in his career, towards my father, and my father took a liking to him and Bill was just a student of the sport. At one time, I remember hearing that Bill Watts was considered as having the best mind in the business, but you know; that’s probably up for debate. But Bill had a good mind and Bill liked me, at first anyway. I mean, I did great; at that time in my career, I did better than I ever had, in the four years I had been working at the time. We were selling out everywhere and yeah. Bill was a real stickler; he liked guys that had balls, he liked guys that would never back down but then that’s probably not a real smart way to be either, you know? Because, looking back, there’s some times where when you have to take the high road and walk away from situations where young guys are pissed off and would want to throw down with anybody in a certain given situation. Bill suffered the consequences; Bill put me on a pedestal one night for going to Duggan’s aid in northern Louisiana, and then it came back and bit him on the ass and I was the bad guy.”
What it was like to be part of the very first WrestleMania: “Well, I can’t see that; if it had bombed (they’d be blacklisted in other feds); Vince put everything on the line. I know he had a lot on the line that I wasn’t really aware of at that time, but yeah, I was just very fortunate to be on the card. The card was posted one night, I don’t even remember where we were, but I do remember Barry Orton, Bret Hart and I; we were all at this one show and they posted the line-up for who was on the card. They didn’t post the matches, but they posted for everybody that was going to be on WrestleMania, on this sheet of paper and posted it in the locker room there. And as soon as it was posted, everybody freakin’ gathered around to see if their name was on it. I can remember standing there with Barry Orton and Bret Hart and they were going ‘S***’ and they said ‘You lucky bastard; you’re on it’ and I was on it, and I just said ‘Sweet’.
“I just thought it was great that I was on it, but I didn’t get all that excited about it; at that point, we were working sometimes 90 days in a row, without a day off, you know? And when that is going on, you’re wanting a day off. You’re beating the hell out of your body up and down the road and in airports, living out of your suitcase and hotels and after three months of it without a day off, you get a little bit tired. But when I found out I was on it, I was ecstatic, I was happy about it because I knew it was going to be a good show and I was on it. But I do remember that evening because Bret and Barry weren’t on it and they were upset but I just rolled with it; I was one of the lucky ones.”
What was easier to work under: Big Josh in WCW or Doink the Clown in WWE/F: “Probably the clown. When I first had that pitched to me, I don’t know if I lost my ability to speak or what; it caught me totally of guard. I never would have ever dreamed of being a clown out there, you know? But that soon changed; when it was presented to me as ‘This is an idea’ and Vince, it was Vince’s idea to pitch it to me and I didn’t really respond. I think he kind of read my body language and said ‘You don’t really have to do it’. If you’ve got something else you want to do, put it on the table; we’re pretty open here.’ So, he said, ‘Go home and think about it’; he told me he thought I could pull it off and that it would be a fine line to pull it off but if I thought I could do it, then he really believed I could do it. So, I just went home and I was living in Atlanta at the time, and for the next four to five days, I ate, slept, drank; everything was having to do with this conversation I’d had with Mr. McMahon. So, I was to call him the following Friday and so I called him and said ’Ok, let’s roll. I want to do it.’“
Some of his inspiration and material for being Doink the Clown: “We just kinda rode it as we went, you know? I just fell right into it; I did my homework and watched a lot of freakin’ old Batman flicks with the Joker and Jack Nicholson. Just a lot of standing in front of the mirror, making goofy ass faces and switching from being happy to being out there and just changing things on the drop of a dime; I think that’s what really helped me get it over with being able to use my face so drastically and change it so drastically, change my emotions under that character. And plus the fact of my wrestling ability, I always had that and actually I did the same thing that I did when I was Matt Borne or Big Josh or whatever; I did the same thing except I was painted up as this freakin’ clown. It actually enabled me to take it to the next level, you know; let’s exploit this a little more. Actually, it was fun, it was probably the best time of my career and I had a lot of fun doing it but once you’re there and once I got it over so big, so quick a lot of guys are jealous and it’s just the way it is; guys wanting to see you fall.”
The audio interview is available here.
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