Wrestling legend Buddy Landel was found unresponsive in his home today, possibly following complications from a car accident he suffered over the weekend. He was 52 years old.
Landel broke in to the business in 1979 after training under Boris Malenko and Karl Gotch. He made his name in Tennessee and in the 80s worked the “Nature Boy” gimmick as a heel move against Ric Flair. At one point he was set to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, but because his plane was delayed on the night of a big angle plans were changed.
Bad luck became somewhat of a theme for Landel’s career. He was set for a big run in the WWE in 1995 but a quad injury took him out of action and he was never brought back.
He regularly wrestled on the independents well in to the 2000s.
Career highlights include being managed by Andy Kaufman during the comedian’s run in Mid-South, selling out shows in the Mid-South Coliseum with Jerry Lawler, and setting an attendance record at the Knoxville Coliseum against Shawn Michaels, for Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
Telly Blistis sent along Landel’s last public interview:
Our thoughts are with Landel’s family and friends.