Buddy Landel Dies : Pro Wrestler ‘Nature Boy’ dies, aged 52 After Car Accident

Buddy Landel Dies : Former WWE star dies, aged 52 After Car Accident

Wrestling Legend Buddy Landel Dies After Car Accident.

According to both Dave Meltzer of WrestlingObserver.com and Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com, Buddy Landel was involved in a serious car accident over the weekend, but checked himself out of the hospital sometime on Sunday and was later found to be unresponsive by his wife at their home together.

WWE has since graciously posted the following message of condolences to Landel’s family and friends on their website:

“WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of William Ansor, aka “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel.

Buddy Landel made his in-ring debut in 1979, performing in regional promotions before signing in 1985 with the NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions. With flowing blond locks, glittering robes and WWE Hall of Famer J.J. Dillon in his corner, Landel set his sights on then-NWA World Champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Though he left Crockett Promotions by the end of the year, Landel left his mark, defeating Terry Taylor at Starrcade 1985 to capture the NWA National Championship.

Buddy Landel continued to compete in various promotions in Tennessee and Alabama, then returned to the NWA in 1990 to face off with Flair in a “Battle of the Nature Boys,” before moving on to compete in Smoky Mountain Wrestling. He also made brief appearances in WWE in 1995 and 1996.

WWE extends its condolences to Landel’s family, friends and fans.”

To add to WWE’s short bio, Landel was fired by JCP in late 1985, after he overslept a television taping due to his substance abuse issues at the time, which he readily admitted to Mike Mooneyham in 2011:

“I fell asleep at a hotel and took a bunch of good cocaine that whole night and did a bunch of valiums. Black Bart [Rick Harris] was with me and told me that we had to go TV. I had just bought a brand new Lincoln and threw him the car keys and told him that I would catch a cab and be there later.

They started [the tapings] at 9 o’clock that morning, and by 11 o’clock I had hung up on Dusty [Rhodes] and [Jim] Crockett and told them to not call me again. I was National champion at the time. When I got there, Dusty told me to give him the belt, and that I didn’t work there anymore. I said OK.”

That would be the pattern for much of his career, as his considerable talent would keep getting him opportunities in different territories, but his personal demons meant that he rarely lived up to his full potential.

However, he did eventually clean his act up and had a career resurgence in Jim Cornette’s SMW in 1995, first as a heel and later as a babyface who admitted to being his own worst enemy, which led to him headlining the largest show in company history, the Super Bowl of Wrestling, in a losing effort to then WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels. The strength of his SMW run led to him being hired by the WWF later that year, but he only lasted one set of TV tapings, due to slipping on ice as he left an arena during blizzard conditions and seriously injuring his knee. Outside of a few squash matches for both WCW and the WWF, he’d sadly never work for a major promotion again, his time having passed him by.