The passing of Matt “Doink” Borne sent a wave of grief through the wrestling world today, particularly among the 27 independent wrestlers who have, without WWE authorization, been portraying the Doink character for decades.
“It’s a sad day for Doinks everywhere,” said Steve Gill, who has been performing Doink since 2005 in the North Dakota independent wrestling scene.
“All of us fake Doinks are worried that no promoters will want to book Doinks anymore.”
Matt Borne, who died Friday at age 59, portrayed a number of characters during his wrestling career but only rose to true global notoriety when he became the World Wrestling Federation’s resident demented clown.
In the years since his retirement from in-ring action, imitation Doinks have popped up across North America and Europe. Most of the fake Doinks, however, have failed to capture the joyful madness of Borne’s original portrayal.
Pete McGuirk, a fake Doink on the Michigan indy scene, says that he’ll now probably start portraying a fake Blue Blazer instead.
“Out of respect, it’s the right thing to do,” he said.