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"Nature Boy" Buddy Landel passes away at age 53

By Dave Meltzer,

William Ansor, who was once on the verge of becoming one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling in the mid-80s as "Nature Boy" Buddy Landel, passed away Monday at the age of 53.

Details are still sketchy, but the reports are that Landel was in a bad auto accident over the weekend, and checked himself out of the hospital on Sunday. He said he was feeling bad when he went to sleep, and when his wife went to check on him today, he had died.

Landel, managed by J.J. Dillon, was set for a major push in Jim Crockett Promotions, including a potential NWA title run or at least a major feud with Ric Flair. The two had set a record in Raleigh, NC, in a tryout match. However, he was out of control, didn't get up for a television taping, and was fired.  He was National heavyweight champion at the time, and on that morning at the TBS Studios, it was announced that Landel had lost the title to Dusty Rhodes in Albuquerque, NM, and he never appeared again.

While he had a steady career for the next decade, including participating in USWA's last sellouts at the Mid South Coliseum (Jerry Lawler & Dutch Mantel vs. Landel & Bill Dundee), he never came close to that level of stardom again.

We have more on Landel's passing on this edition of Wrestling Observer Radio.