Sunday, February 6, 2011

Buddy Landel [57Talk Shoot Interviews]

The Good
One of the more interesting pro-wrestlers in that people largely think highly of him despite the fact he could be labeled a "failure" with some just cause. Buddy Landel's career is, as he admits, a "real sad story" as he was loaded with potential as one of the best talkers and workers of the mid-1980s, but he threw it all away because of his "demons." In this three-part series with Gary Cubeta, they try to "analog" (a cross between analyzing and cataloging, I guess) his career. While this is an unfinished product, Gary would later admit that he troubles getting Buddy back on the phone, it has great depth and authentic analysis. Buddy can talk all day, he can put himself over, he can bury himself and he really needs little direction. Gary Cubeta does not usually sit back and let a guest ramble, so in this early 57Talk interview, he tries to escort Buddy through a career retrospect better than Buddy's RF Video shoot (which is good, by the way). The main focal points are Buddy's early years in the Tennessee area, his first heel run in Puerto Rico and his big run in Jim Crockett Promotions with some time given to his Mid-South (Buddy n' Butch) and later Memphis (Bill n' Buddy) runs. Cubeta and Landel have a great chemistry and it makes for a real strong series of interviews. While this is not the whole story, it may be the best parts of it.

The Bad
While I appreciate Buddy Landel for his abilities, his honesty and his humor, I have to say this is missing some of punchiness I'd expect. This is a guy who, according to himself (although Gary Cubeta, myself and everyone questions this), was slated to beat Ric Flair for an NWA World title run, yet he was too strung out on valium to go to TV. While he admits it is a sad story, Buddy is not angry, bitter or crazy from missing his big chance. It seems like so many former stars are one of those three and that's what makes them a charismatic interview, but Buddy simply seems at peace with it. I cannot fault him for that, but it sort of leaves this flat. Buddy is also pretty guarded in talking about the specifics of his addictions, just that they consumed him. You might also be disappointed at the lack of Mid-South and Smoky Mountain in this, but those were probably yet to come.

The Rating: ****

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