According to reports, Buddy Landel, who wrestled under the name “The Nature Boy”, has been found dead at home in Chillhowee, Virginia at the age of 53. Landel was reportedly in a car accident this weekend, but returned home seemingly no worse for wear. Unfortunately he was found unresponsive by the love of his life, his wife Donna, Monday morning.
Born in Tennessee, Landel, real name William Ansor, left high school at the age of 16 and moved in with Olympian Bob Roop and was trained by Boris Malenko and finished with Karl Gotch. His wrestling career began in 1979 with International Championship Wrestling and stayed with ICW until 1985 when he joined the National Wrestling Alliance. This alliance was short lived though, as a falling out with Jim Crocket Promotions right before a bout against Ric Flair would end his tenure with NWA.
Landel moved back to the Tennessee area where he lived until coming back to NWA in 1990, where he finally got to have it out with “Nature Boy” Ric Flair in the Battle of the Nature Boys. He went back to the independents in 1991, before joining Smoky Mountain Wrestling for 1994/95.
He joined Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1995 as a member of the WWE, where he was to get a “big push”,and even battled Bret Hart for the WWE championship. Landel was honored as Most Influential WWF/WCW Wrestler from Kentucky by the state’s governor, and made a Kentucky Colonel in 1990, as well as being inducted into the Legends Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2011.
Landel was an accomplished musician, member of the Masonic Lodge, and active reserve police officer.
Rest in peace, Nature Boy.