The following is a transcript of the Buddy Landell chat that took place on Prodigy on March 4, 1998.
Moderator (Speaker): Welcome everyone, We are currently joined by the "Real Nature Boy" Buddy Landell of SMW and NWA fame. Please send in your questions.
DoubleLPM (Prodigy Member): Do you feel that your "Real Nature Boy" gimmick has kept you from achieving your own identity?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): It consumed my whole life at a time when everything was going on. Now that I'm 13 years older, I know when to leave it at the front door. I lived it 24 hours a day.
western jim (Prodigy Member): Welcome, Buddy. It's nice to have you on, as you've always been one of my favorites. As for my first question...is it true that you were almost NWA World Champion in the mid-late 1980s?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): Flair was dealing with a personal tragedy, and they were going to shoot the angle the day I decided not to show up for TV. I hung up on Dusty and hung up on Crockett, and when I finally got to the studio they told me to give them my belt and I was no longer part of the company. They were going to give Flair 4 months off to be with his family, and were going to put the belt on me. I was 23 years old, and had already proven myself, and they thought I could carry the belt.
western jim (Prodigy Member): I think you'd be a perfect fit in the NWA angle the WWF is currently running. Has there been any contact with them regarding this? If not, I do think they're missing the boat...
Buddy Landell (Speaker): The very few shows I see, I think it's going to disband very quickly. Splitting Jarrett and beating up on the Rock & Roll Express, it doesn't look like the NWA is going to last up there. Vince wants instant gratification and if he doesn't get it, it's over with.l
western jim (Prodigy Member): You've travelled all over the country and worked for everybody...you've worked in Texas, Memphis, SMW, WCW, the WWF briefly, etc. What was your favorite place to work and why?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I don't have any preference. When you're on the road, it's like a big family. My heart was in the business, and was happy everywhere. I was always treated with respect everywhere.
DoubleLPM (Prodigy Member): Where would you rank Jim Cornette will the other promoters you have worked for?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): That's a tough one. Jimmy is one of my closest friends and has been since the early 80's. He was from the same mold as I was. I think Bill Watts was the greatest teacher, and we both learned from him.
DoubleLPM (Prodigy Member): What do you think of Rik Ratchet?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I think Rik Ratchet is the biggest Ric Flair fan I have ever met in my life.
western jim (Prodigy Member): Your match with Shawn Michaels at the SMW Superbowl of Wrestling in 1995 was an excellent match and a worthy main event. Any thoughts on this match?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): At that time in my life, I was on the way back up. I was getting recognition. Everybody has to have a trial match in either WCW or WWF. Shawn Michaels was good enough to me to agree to come to SMW to wrestle me in my home town. I will always be grateful to Shawn for being a part of that night in my life.
FlyerJon (Prodigy Member): Hey Buddy. It seemed that the WWF was ready to give you a mini-push a couple of years back. they announced on the air that you had some kind of freak injury. Was this the real story and, if so, why did you never get another shot?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): As a matter of fact, Jim Cornette was going to bring me up. I had a start date and did 4 tv tapings. There was a really bad snow storm and coming back to the hotel I slipped and fell on some ice and landed on a handicapped door and it ripped my quad tendon and I was out for 8 months.
AK47 Jesus (Prodigy Member): What got you started in the pro wrestling industry, what one person inspired you to do this?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I watched wrestling all my life growing up. It was regional back then. I had been a fan all my life, but hadn't been to the matches. I met Randy Savage, Ronnie Garvin, Malenko, and some others. Professor Malenko trained me.
SoyBombGH (Prodigy Member): Which of the current wrestlers do you enjoy watching most as far as workrate and charisma?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): That's really tough. Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddy Guerrero....those guys are all great.
AK47 Jesus (Prodigy Member): Who gave you your first break in wrestling?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I would have to say Tom Renesto, Sr. It was 1983 and he asked me if I would mind bleaching my hair blonde and coming to Puerto Rico to be a heel. I went, and the rest is history.
NWA4Life (Prodigy Member): You worked for Bill Watts early in your career. What was it like working for him during those days?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): It was like going to Medical School. It was extremely hard. Number 1 just being so young and being away from home...being around the toughest boss in wrestling....living in Louisiana, as you know is tough, they didn't have highways...it was all backroads. We did 100,000 miles a year driving our cars.
NeutronSTAR (Prodigy Member): Hi Buddy, thanks for joining us. I was at the Gilbert Memorial that Ian Rotten put on. did you enjoy working there?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I had actually turned it down. Everybody is making money off of Eddie. I decided to do it and got to work with Tommy Gilbert, and still at 50+ he is a great wrestler, and I had a great time seeing the Gilberts again.
NWA4Life (Prodigy Member): Working so closely with Ric Flair, you must have some good stories. What's your favorite Ric Flair story?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): My favorite story...I met him in 1980, I was 18 years old and I idolized him. I would have never thought that one day I would be wrestling him before sold out buildings. I'll never forget the first funny story. We were in a building and Flair came in and went into the bathroom in his suit and he went into the stall and plopped down on the toilet....and right then I knew he was human.
Buddy Landell (Speaker): Another one is, the very first time we locked up, and he grabbed my arm to check my muscle out....so I figured I'd do the very same thing...and he slapped the taste out of my mouth....a real shoot slap.
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I think Ric Flair for WCW was what Hulk Hogan was for the WWF. He is my favorite of all time and is the consummate professional and consummate athlete.
I SawThe SKP (Prodigy Member): Would you ever work for the WWF again?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I'm best friends with Jim Cornette, and he's in a position to hire me...but I've never used our friendship as a bargaining tool to get a job. I figure if it's meant to be, it'll happen. I've got a proven track record and I'm still 10 to 13 years younger than a lot of the guys on top right now.
I SawThe SKP (Prodigy Member): What do you think of the wrestling talent of Chris Candido?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I met him in SMW and took him under my wing. He followed me around and came to my house to eat with my family. His car registrations come to my house to this day. He has unlimited potential and is a great guy.
ReBeL 5841 (Prodigy Member): Buddy... what would you single out as the single most enjoyable part of your career in the wrestling business? During what stretch of time? Working for who? And why?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I would have to say in the 1984 time period when Bill Watts was so hot, or the 1985 period working with Flair. That was success at it's finest.
CK JobSquad (Prodigy Member): Buddy,what are your thoughts on what the Gilbert Family had to say about Paul Heyman and ECW at the Gilbert Memorial show last weekend?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I personally think the Gilberts were prodded into saying what they said. We can think things, but we don't have to say them. I think what they said was already in their heart, but I think they were prodded. Had the initial comments about ECW not been made, they probably would not have reacted that way.
ReBeL 5841 (Prodigy Member): What are your thoughts about Dennis Coralluzzo's Eddie Gilbert Memorial weekends? Some have insinuated that he's just out to make money off the memory of Eddie. Some commend him. Your thoughts?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I have been with Dennis when he has actually cried. I think he is a sincere person and genuinely loved Eddie and cares deeply about the Gilberts. I can't speak for people's motivations....just my own.
I SawThe SKP (Prodigy Member): If the WWF offered you a whole lot of money, but you had to act like a fitness freak.. would you do it?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): Money is the motivating factor in any athletes life these days...and I'm in good shape.
I SawThe SKP (Prodigy Member): Do you think of the sudden increases in wrestling on Monday Nights is helping, or hurting wrestling as a whole?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): To be honest with you, I was in the business when we were struggling just to get a regional slot. With all the shows on the air it's getting us exposure world wide. It's great for wrestling fans. I think maybe we could even stand more wrestling on tv.
BoSoxFan42 (Prodigy Member): Buddy, what do you think of the WWF's new direction? Would you fit into it?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I have two children of my own, ages 10 and 12. At one time my daughter was a huge Goldust fan, but now with the perverted acts and crotch chops, I can't let them watch the WWF. I can't raise my children that way. I'm embarassed to watch it myself.
UNCBly (Prodigy Member): Buddy, as you look at the success of WCW now, did you ever think it happen? Was there anything with that company while you were there that told you 'success is around the coner'
Buddy Landell (Speaker): Eric Bischoff was the main factor in the turn around, and deserves the credit for getting the salaries and the status of the wrestlers up to the level they deserve. He can look at a piece of talent and can tell what to do with it. The money being made by the guys down there wouldn't be possible if he hadn't turned things around. He put modern wrestling on the map.
UNCBly (Prodigy Member): You worked in the NWA for some years, as you watch it come back on RAW....what are you thoughts? Is it a poor attempt at the NWO.... do you ever think the NWA can be brought back again?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I think the era of the NWA that I lived in should stay in the past. I think it pales in comparison in it's attempt to be an NWO.
SHovanJEP (Prodigy Member): Buddy what did you think of the last few months in SMW and what about your match with the I-C champ Shawn Michaels at that show since it was one of SMW's last. Superbowl of wrestling Ithink.
Buddy Landell (Speaker): It was based out of Knoxville. How often do you get to work a territory based in your hometown. I got to work and help book with a very close friend. It was the last of the Mohicans.
SHovanJEP (Prodigy Member): Every card as a Smartass. What was the funniest thing you ever heard from a fan in your SMW days? Something that made you laugh in the middle of your match?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I worked with Brad Armstrong one time and somebody yelled boring...so I grabbed him in a headlock and took him over and laid down for about 15 minutes. Now that was boring.
DoubleLPM (Prodigy Member): Would you ever work for ECW and Paul Heyman?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I have all the respect in the world for those guys and their ability. I'm not interested in getting killed by jumping off balcony's...but they do have some good wrestlers up there that I wouldn't mind working with.
FlyerJon (Prodigy Member): If you are re-hired by WCW, which wrestlers would you most look forward to grappling with?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): Ric Flair. We set records all over the south, and it would be great to have another "Battle of the Nature Boys".
FlyerJon (Prodigy Member): I vaguely remember that, in 1991 or so, Joel Goodhart and the old TWA had booked you for a match against "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers. If I am correct, Rogers was 76 years old at that time and that soon after the match was cancelled, he actually died. My Question to you is, Was this match actually going to happen, or was it just a "gimmick match"? (What was the inside story)?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): The match was going to actually take place. I was the Tri-States Champ and Rogers was a referee. I went to the ring and paid homage to the "Original" Nature Boy, and then I told him that he had seen his day and now he could go home. I attacked him in the ring...and he made a comeback on me and set the angle up. We were going to do it at the Philly Civic Center. There was a $16,000 advance, and the promoter shut the promotion down before it happened.
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I was amazed at the shape he was in. We talked in the dressing room and he said he was shocked that there were only 3 Nature Boys. He was impressed with me and said he was going to talk to the WWF about bringing me to the WWF with him as my manager.
FlyerJon (Prodigy Member): Who is the "TRUE" Nature Boy & Why?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): Buddy Rogers, because he was the original. I think the "Nature Boy" is more than one person. It's an institution. After Rogers there was Flair. After Flair there was me....and there will be another one after me.
SoyBombGH (Prodigy Member): Have you ever done a crotch chop?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): No, and I've never put a sock in my pants either.
AK47 Jesus (Prodigy Member): Do you think that some shootfighters from UFC would make good pro wrestlers? We've seen Ken Shamrock make a transition, and Dan Severn, would this open the door for others to get into pro wrestling?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I think Ken Shamrock is amazing. I told Dan Severn the other night, and apparently there's some bad blood there. I told him how amazing the transition he made was...and he looked at me like "whatever". Dan is a great athelete too, but his transition hasn't worked as well.
AK47 Jesus (Prodigy Member): What are your takes on some of the drug use and or abuse by wrestlers, with the recent death of Louis Spicolli, and with the tragic passing of Eddie Gilbert a few years ago??
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I have my own take on that. In the mid 80's I was caught up in that too. It's by the Grace of God that I'm alive. It's something that made me my own worse enemy. I've defeated that enemy. It's sad to see someone get a break like Louie Spicolli and have this happen.
ReBeL 5841 (Prodigy Member) Do you see the independents as modern-day territories? Do you feel that young wrestlers can get enough experience working for independents in 1998 as wrestlers of the past were able to gain by working territories?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): No. I don't. We worked 7 days a week with great talent. In the Independent promotions you usually have mediocre guys with name main events. In the territory days, everybody was great from top to bottom.
ReBeL 5841 (Prodigy Member): Explain your thoughts on Music City Wrestling, from the crowds, to the guys in the locker room, to your thoughts about the future of the company...
Buddy Landell (Speaker): It's a pale attempt at getting back what isn't there anymore.
CK JobSquad (Prodigy Member): Buddy,since everyone wants to know if your joining the nWo...how about this,do you want to join DX?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I'm not interested in that. I would be interested in going to WCW because of the great tradition, the great athletes, the great storylines. I wouldn't be interested in going to be part of a freak show. If I had the opportunity to have someone book me, I'd rather be in a pair of wrestling tights locking up with somebody than doing crotch chops.
Wrestling GD (Prodigy Member): Buddy---What is your opinion of a wrestler such as Dean Malenko? And do you think wrestlers like himself, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho deserve anymore than they are getting, or do you think the level they are at in WCW is good enough?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): With Hulk Hogan there....he is the ultimate in Main Events. I think lightweights and cruiserweights...it's a great time for them in pro wrestling. Dean Malenko was with me when I met my wife in Florida. They are great talents, and I have great respect for all of them. It's some of the most exciting stuff to watch.
RingSpotTC (Prodigy Member): Buddy...Help up the wrestling world come to a decisive conclusion...who's the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all-time...Rocky Maivia or The Honky Tonk Man?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): The Honky Tonk Man. No doubt about it.
DLA BSTGK LS (Prodigy Member): If you were forced to call it quits for good right now, what would your best memory from your entire career?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I would have to say that I made it to the top...and was the number 1 contender to wrestle Ric Flair for the NWA World Title. We sold arenas out and nobody could ever take that away from me. If I had to walk away today...I've lived the life most men only dream of.
PFWA Brian (Prodigy Member): Buddy, Eric Bischoff just recently got into arguments with the very talented WCW mid-carders such as Eddy Guerrero and Dean Malenko, when they asked why they aren't getting a pushed. Eric responded by saying "You don't put a**es into seats". What are your reactions to talented wrestlers not getting fair pushes in WCW?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): He's doing exactly what I said earlier in another question. I learned very early...from Bill Watts, he told you "you're first match, second match, third match" whatever. Main Event status is something extraordinary and very special, and it's left to guys that, as Eric said, "can put asses in seats".
PFWA Brian (Prodigy Member): Buddy, in your opinion, what do you think killed the old NWA territories and tradition, such as Mid-South?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): What killed Mid South was Bill Watts spending $700,000 in 1986 trying to keep the UWF afloat. When the oil boom hit...that's what made it successful...when it went bust, it killed the territory.
PFWA Brian (Prodigy Member): Buddy, who would you most want to wrestle in your career, before you retire, that you have not already wrestled?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): Since I'm 36 years old...and have another 10 years or so, it's probably someone that hasn't even started wrestling yet. I want to wrestle Ric Flair. We have some unfinished business. Now is a great time to see who the 'Real Nature Boy' is.
Moderator (Speaker): You met Eric Bischoff in December at NITRO. How did it go?
Buddy Landell (Speaker): I had gone to the building early that day, and Terry Taylor told Arn Anderson to take me to meet Eric Bischoff. On the way over, Arn told me "this is a NITRO, and Eric is really busy...so expect anything. He might say he's too busy and can't be bothered, so just be ready to expect anything". I'm thinking, thanks for the confidence Arn.
Buddy Landell (Speaker): Arn knocked on the door and asked him if he had time to meet me. Eric opened the door and said "Sure, come on in." He shook my hand and said he had heard a lot of good things about me and was glad to finally meet me. I told him I knew he was busy and thanked him for taking time to talk to me. I left feeling excited about the future.
Buddy Landell (Speaker): In closing, I want to thank everybody for their questions, and for their support in the past. I'm looking forward to a successful future, hopefully in WCW.