Who Would Win In A Fight: Pennywise or Doink the Clown?

Pennywise versus Doink The Clown

While on a press junket tour for Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Simon Pegg revealed he showed his 9-year-old daughter IT

What’s the appropriate age to introduce your child to evil clowns? 9? 

What’s the appropriate age to introduce your child to WrestleMania IX? 9? 

So, now that we’ve figured that out, it’s time to answer the age-old question. Who is the scarier clown: IT’s Pennywise or WrestleMania IX’s Doink? And more importantly, who would win in a fight?

Ok But Which Version Of Pennywise?

For the unfamiliar, Doink is a WWF creation, best portrayed by Matt Borne. Our hypothetical match is between the TV and film versions of Pennywise and the Matt Borne version of Doink. The book version of Pennywise would win every match and the other iterations of Doink would lose every match. We’re going with the Tim Curry/Bill Skarsgård portrayal because the limitations put on American TV and mainstream film prevent this version of Pennywise from going to the extremes it does in the original source material. We’re going with the Borne version of Doink because he’s the best version and there’s no real debate about it.

Pennywise is a creation of the Master of Horror Steven King. The It in IT, he (they’re a shapeshifter but predominantly presents as a male clown so we’re going with he) scares people, typically children, by appearing as his subject’s fear.

Doink is a creation of Master of Sports Entertainment Vince McMahon (kinda, he didn’t exactly come up with the character, Hawk from the Road Warriors did and the WWF creative team helped create backstory, but McMahon employed all these folks and he definitely played a large role in Doink’s portrayal and played the largest role in merchandising). He’s an evil clown who’s willing to use dirty tricks (fake arms, imposter Doinks) to win.

Both clowns are masters of their craft. Both clowns are well-known and scary beyond their respected forums. And both clowns are, somewhat surprisingly, creations independent of each other. But Doink has a more tortured backstory than Pennywise. 

Who Really Is Doink The Clown?

Matt Borne’s life is a horror movie. His mother left him to be raised by his father, a wrestler, Tough Tony Borne. Borne was literally born into the wrestling business. Before he was ever an evil clown, he was Maniac Matt Borne. Maniac Matt is scarier than Doink. During this era, he got into a bar fight with fellow wrestler Brian Blair. Blair says he had to bite Borne’s lip after Borne scarily showcased his teeth, like Pennywise. The fight continued. Even after Blair thought the fight was over, Borne continued to fight and nearly knocked out Blair’s eye. In a match between Maniac Matt and Pennywise, I’m going with Maniac Matt. 

After his time as Maniac Matt, Borne went to WCW as Big Josh, a lumberjack who came to the ring with bears. Actual bears. Bears are scary. This guy came to the ring with bears. Once again, in a match between Big Josh and Pennywise, I’m going with Big Josh. 

Matt Borne was a self-proclaimed addict. For better or worse, it helped impact his portrayal of Doink. It was, for better or worse, great. “What made Doink the evil clown work was the man behind the makeup because he truly was a sadistic guy, his in-ring work was good, was crisp, was believable and you believed that he could actually beat his opponent in wrestling and he embraced the clown,” said Bruce Prichard, a professional wrestling executive, booker, producer and former manager (you may remember him as Brother Love).

Prichard was one of the guys that helped create the character. Hawk from Road Warriors saw Matt Borne smoking in the locker room after a match, thought he looked miserable and it reminded him of Krusty the Klown. The other clown-based creation that helped Prichard and Hawk convince Vince McMahon to go with the character was Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Borne didn’t initially love the idea of being a second-generation wrestler portraying a clown, he was concerned he’d come off as a cartoon. Due to his talent and demons, the original Doink was anything but a cartoon. 

Where Do We Have This Clown Fight?

Let’s get to the actual fake fake fisticuffs. For our match between Doink and Pennywise, location matters. If this is an unsanctioned street fight, it’s all about Doink staying out of the sewers. If it’s a cinematic match, Pennywise is going over, maybe it’s even a squash match. But if it’s in the ring with standard rules? Doink has the advantage.

Pennywise’s power is essentially showing its victims their fears. But Borne’s fear was being Doink. And in one of his most memorable matches, Doink literally sees another Doink and the Doinks work together. Doink won that match. Ipso facto, Doink would defeat Pennywise in a WWF ring. 

There’s a Dark Side of the Ring episode focused on Matt Borne, “What Happened to Doink the Clown.” It’s not exactly uplifting. In many ways, it’s scarier than any IT iteration. Doink may win one match against Pennywise. But in terms of long-term storytelling, Pennywise may have the advantage of carrying a company and ultimately holding the championship belt for a long, long reign.



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