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We’re gonna party like it’s 1985

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Take a walk on the wild side: Landel at the top of his game with Nikki Sixx and Vanity.

As you might imagine, Motley Crue’s The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band includes  hair-raising tales of sex, alcohol and drug abuse that make the wrestling business seem tame by comparision (with the possible exceptions of WWF 1985, ECW 1995 and WCW 1997).

In the book, Nikki Sixx recounts how he and recording-artist Vanity (today a born-again Christian) would binge on coke for weeks at a time, a whirlwind of excess that nearly killed him. But even then, they had trouble keeping up with “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel, who recently posted photos of he and the Crue partying on his Facebook page.

Landel has been forthright that his addictions derailed his promising career in the mid-’80s, when Dusty Rhodes was pushing him strong as a rival to NWA World champion Ric Flair, “that other Nature Boy.” Landel has maintained that at the time of his firing, he was scheduled to win the strap from Flair, who needed time off for a personal issue. According to Buddy, the scenario laid out was that Landel would win the belt through devious means, with Flair returning as a babyace months later to feud with his brash, younger replacement over the 1o pounds of gold and the Nature Boy name.

Flair has since said that he despised how Dusty was building up Landel at his expense, which no doubt would have helped the planned feud because fans would have picked up on the real-life animosity.

Landel might have a been an inspired choice as NWA champion–that's right, I said it.

Landel was the National champion managed by J.J. Dillon when he was abruptly fired in December 1985, shortly after winning the belt from Terry Taylor at Starrcade in November of that year. I believe he missed a TV taping because he’d been out all night partying, infuriating Dusty, who clearly had big plans for the kid.

Shortly after firing Landel, Dusty awarded himself the National title, with the announcement that he had defeated Buddy in Albuquerque, N.M., a bout which never took place. Over the years, Landel has claimed that he was scheduled to win the NWA title at the TV taping he missed, but there’s no way the timing was right for the switch, coming off the unsettled Rhodes/Flair issue at Starrcade. No question Landel would have been a solid choice for the belt eventually in turning Flair babyface, but he was too busy having fun-hell, it was the ’80s.
When I worked with Buddy as his manager in Memphis in 1995, his star long since faded, he was the nicest guy in the world and  positive at all times. He was  so proud when he discussed working with Flair and how he won the NWA title once only to have the decision reversed (yet another dreaded Dusty finish)-perhaps a trial run for what was to come. When I asked Buddy backstage at the Mid-South Coliseum one night about his career and how it turned it out, he smiled and said, “I had the time of my life. I wouldn’t change a thing, brother.” In a way, I believe him.
  1. Old School Sammy
    July 24th, 2010 at 06:32 | #1

    Makes me wonder if he has a bumper sticker on his car that says “My other career is up my nose.”

    It does make me wonder how the heck Landell got to hang out with Nikki Sixx and Vanity—to be a fly on that stall…ummm…I mean wall…

  2. David
    July 24th, 2010 at 11:56 | #2

    I think he hung out with Skid Row as well… Buddy got to hang with all the shitty glam-metal bands!!! It is too bad he ruined his career… he was really a great worker back then, even up to SMW…

  3. Cal
    July 25th, 2010 at 15:32 | #3

    Though given the time period, I wonder how things would have went if he had one the belt as he says.

    Considering that The 4 Horsemen formed in January 86, would that have still happened? And if so, would Landell have been in Flair’s spot instead?

    It does boggle the mind. We need the professor’s what if machine… and the fing-longer so I can push the button from farther away.

  4. Sean D
    July 26th, 2010 at 03:28 | #4

    Without a doubt one of the great “What Ifs” of wrestling out of the 80s. Right up with the Magnum TA wreck and if the Tommy Rich/Buzz Sawyer feud hadn’t gone on longer than (some felt) it should have.

  5. admin
    July 26th, 2010 at 06:37 | #5

    I think Landel winning the belt and the Horesmen dumping Flair in favor of the new champ could have been a hot angle in October 1986 and an excellent way to turn Slick Ric babyface following Magnum’s accident. I think that would have been way better than the Nikita babyface turn. Flair challenging Landel as the main event of Starrcade ’86 would have done quite well, but of course, Buddy was long gone by then.

  1. May 9th, 2012 at 15:02 | #1