Buddy Landel RIP: Former WWE Wrestler Dies Aged 53
Former NWA star Buddy Landel has died aged 53.
Knoxville-born Landel made his in-ring debut in 1979, performing across the southern states before signing with the NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions in 1985.
His flowing blonde locks and glittering robes made him a natural opponent for NWA champ Ric Flair – and legend has it they sold out an arena in Raleigh, North Carolina that broke an attendance record set by Elvis.
Landel continued to compete in various promotions in Tennessee and Alabama throughout his career before returning to the NWA in 1990 to battle Flair once again before moving on to become a lynchpin figure for Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
He considered a SMW bout with Shawn Michaels - credited with selling out the Knoxville Coliseum, a key building for the promotion – as the best match of his career.
Landel also made brief appearances in WWE in 1995 and 1996, losing to Ahmed Johnson on his pay-per-view debut at In Your House 5 but picking up a win against Sparky Plugg. He also tangled with Bret Hart during his WWE tenure.
According to reports, Landel was involved in a car crash on Sunday. It is believed he was found dead at his home yesterday.