The Brooklyn Brawler On Wrestling Bret Hart As Doink The Clown, Thoughts On The Term ‘Enhancement Talent’
Wrestlezone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard recently interviewed Steve Lombardi, aka The Brooklyn Brawler. Lombardi held many jobs throughout his tenure with WWE as an agent and wrestler, including some runs as Abe ‘Knuckleball’ Schwartz and Doink The Clown. Doink was originally played by Matt Borne, but Lombardi and a few other wrestlers portrayed the evil clown character after Borne had been released by the company.
Lombardi recalled the time he wrestled Bret Hart as Doink The Clown in Calgary when Matt Borne was unavailable, and shared Vince McMahon’s pitch to him. “He called me up and says, ‘I need you to wrestle Bret in Calgary for the World Championship.’ I say, ‘There’s no problem with that, I’ve wrestled Bret a lot of times.’ I said, ‘I had Bret’s first match in the whole company.’ He goes, ‘As Doink.’ I said, ‘Vince, I’m not worried about the match, I’m worried about the paint job.’”
The paint job and training of doing his own make-up required Lombardi to do a heck of a lot of traveling, but it was for a good reason despite how hectic it sounds even now. “[Lombardi imitates Vince’s laugh] ‘Don’t worry about that. We’re going to fly you to Cleveland where Matt Bourne’s wife is going to meet you at baggage claim and give you the Doink outfit.” Lombardi said. “Then we’re going to fly you to Stamford where Jill the makeup girl is going to show you how to do the makeup, then we’re going to fly you to Calgary and you’re going to have your match with Bret.’”
“But I did it. I did it. The paint job was probably the hardest thing. But at that time, Doink The Clown was probably the hottest heel in WWE and just when I walked through the curtain, they went crazy,” Lombardi noted, “but to go from Brooklyn Brawler to Doink The Clown, that’s a big stretch right there. Complete opposite.”
During the conversation, the two spoke about the term ‘enhancement talent’ and how Lombardi feels about people referring to lower card talent in that way. Lombardi didn’t look at it negatively, noting that while he played a role in the company that provided him tenure, he also did it to come through when his employer needed him.
“It’s like a movie. You watch a movie. Did you feel bad that you were the guy shooting the other guy and you were the bad guy? No. I didn’t feel bad.” Lombardi said. “I felt like it was a scripted thing and I just did what I was told which got me longevity of 32 years and I didn’t do it just for the longevity, I did it because my feelings were, whatever the company wanted, I would do.”
Although out of WWE now, Lombardi still stays semi-active as a wrestler and works in partnership with the UCW (Ultimate Championship Wrestling) promotion out of Michigan. He says nowadays, he wrestles about three times a month consistently, and also runs a wrestling school called ‘Hall Of Brawl.’
You can listen to the full interview with Steve Lombardi below:
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of Wrestlezone)