Baron von Raschke

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Baron von Raschke
Birth name James Donald Raschke
Born (1940-10-17) October 17, 1940 (age 73)
Omaha, Nebraska
Resides Hastings, Minnesota
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Baron von Raschke
The Baron
The Clawmaster
Jim Raschke
Billed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[1]
Billed weight 281 lb (127 kg)[1]
Billed from "Republic of Germany"[1]
Trained by Verne Gagne
Mad Dog Vachon
Debut 1966
Retired 1995

James Donald Raschke (born October 17, 1940 in Omaha, Nebraska) is a retired professional wrestler best known as Baron von Raschke.

Career[edit]

After a successful amateur wrestling career and a stint in the United States Army, James Raschke started in professional wrestling in 1966 in the American Wrestling Association as a referee. He was soon wrestling under the name of Jim Raschke, playing off of his amateur wrestling notoriety in the area. He eventually changed his ring name to Baron von Raschke and claimed to be from Germany. He would do a goose-step and then put his finisher known as the "brainclaw", on his opponent. His most memorable quote came at the end of an interview during which - running out of time before the next match and not fully hearing the question - he simply blurted out, "Dat is all da people need to know!". Earlier in his career, the Baron had a finishing maneuver known as the 'Prussian Sleeper', a rather complex variation of a traditional sleeper hold. His trademark mantra at the time was; "I am ORDERED to win! I MUST win! and I WILL win!"

Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s he held numerous singles and tag team titles throughout several NWA and AWA territories, as well as wrestling for the WWWF, where his claw hold was "censored" by a huge red "X" on WWWF television because of the blood it would draw when applied. In 1978, he was recognized as the first NWA Television Champion (the Mid Atlantic Television title had been renamed).

In May 1984, Raschke and The Crusher defeated Jerry Blackwell and Ken Patera for the AWA World Tag Team Championship. They would lose the belts in August of that same year to the Road Warriors.

In 1986, he wrestled for the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions where he reunited with former tag partner Paul Jones (who was now a manager) as part of Paul Jones' Army. He also filled in for the injured Krusher Khruschev, defending the NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship with Ivan and Nikita Koloff. Toward the end of his run there he turned "face" against Jones and teamed with Hector Guerrero defeating the Barbarian, Sione Vailahi and Pez Whatley at Starrcade 86. After teaming with Wahoo McDaniel at the 1987 Crockett Cup he left the National Wrestling Alliance.

He had a brief stint in the World Wrestling Federation in 1988 as the manager for The Barbarian and The Warlord (The Powers of Pain) under the name of The Baron,[1] but was released shortly after his arrival, reportedly due to WWF management being bothered by how such a "dark" heel character was receiving face pops from the crowd.

Raschke resurfaced in the AWA, returning to the ring to feud with Soldat Ustinov and Teijho Khan in late 1988. He then went on to captain "Baron's Blitzers" during the ill-fated Team Challenge Series. When the AWA folded, Raschke continued to wrestle for independent promotions, primarily in the Minnesota area, retiring in 1995.

Raschke also took part in one of the legends matches at WCW's inaugural Slamboree: A Legend's Reunion in 1993. He teamed with Ivan Koloff, losing to Thunderbolt Patterson and Brad Armstrong.

When not wrestling, Raschke worked as a substitute teacher. Upon retirement, Raschke purchased and managed a bric-a-brac shop called The Wigwam in Lake George, Minnesota. He sold it in 2000.

In April 2007, James Raschke began a several month run at the Minnesota History Theatre in a play based around his life, persona, and times in the AWA. The play details how a very mild-mannered and polite man created an in-ring gimmick that drew so much heat that he and his frequent tag-team wrestling partner (and real life friend) Mad Dog Vachon often had to fight their way out of the ring.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Amateur wrestling[edit]

High school football[edit]

Professional wrestling[edit]

  • International Wrestling Association
    • IWA International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • International Wrestling Institute and Museum
    • George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (Class of 2002)
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
  • Other titles
    • NSW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Tommy Jammer

References[edit]

External links[edit]