Wrestling lost another veteran today with the passing of “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel. While the exact cause of death is not known, Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer reports that Landel was in a car accident over the weekend. He was hospitalized, but checked himself out against doctors’ wills. He returned home and passed away overnight.
Landel was trained by Boris Malenko, and made his debut in Angelo Poffo’s ICW. Perhaps his highest profile feud was against his namesake “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. He maintained his name through the 80s into the 90s in the NWA, Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling, and Jerry Jarrett’s USWA.
WWE released the following statement
WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of William Ansor, aka “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel.
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.
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.