Open main menu

James Donald Raschke (born October 17, 1940) is an American retired professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Baron von Raschke.

Baron von Raschke
Baron Von Raschke by Ryan Bognar.jpg
Raschke in April 2019
Birth nameJames Donald Raschke[1]
Born (1940-10-17) October 17, 1940 (age 78)[1]
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
ResidenceHastings, Minnesota, United States
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)The Baron[1]
Baron von Raschke[1]
The Clawmaster[1]
Fritz von Raschke
Jim Raschke[1]
Billed height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[2]
Billed weight281 lb (127 kg)[2]
Billed fromRepublic of Germany[1][2]
Trained byVerne Gagne[1]
Mad Dog Vachon[1]
Debut1966[1]
Retired1995[1]

Contents

Professional wrestling careerEdit

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 his real name, playing off of his amateur wrestling notoriety in the area.[1] 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.[1] Earlier in his career, the Von Raschke had a finishing maneuver known as the "Prussian sleeper", a rather complex variation of a traditional sleeper hold. His 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 it was considered such a violent act.[1] Managed by Fred Blassie, Von Raschke's highest-profile match of his 1970s WWWF run came in March 1977, where he wrestled WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino for the title at Madison Square Garden in New York. Von Raschke lost the match by disqualification when, after Sammartino became tied up in the ropes, he shoved the referee away as he had his clawhold applied to Sammartino's head. Sammartino defeated Von Raschke in a rematch a month later at Madison Square Garden, marking Sammartino's last successful title defense before losing the belt to Superstar Billy Graham.

In 1978, Von Raschke was recognized as the first NWA Television champion (the Mid Atlantic Television title had been renamed).[3]

 
Raschke in 1975

In May 1984, Raschke and The Crusher defeated Jerry Blackwell and Ken Patera for the AWA World Tag Team Championship.[4] They would lose the belts in August of that same year to The Road Warriors.[4]

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.[5] He also filled in for the injured Krusher Khruschev, defending the NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship with Ivan and Nikita Koloff.[5] Toward the end of his run there he turned "face" against Jones and teamed with Hector Guerrero defeating the Barbarian and Pez Whatley at Starrcade (1986).[6] After teaming with Wahoo McDaniel at the 1987 Crockett Cup he left the National Wrestling Alliance.[5]

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",[2][7] but was released shortly after his arrival.[7]

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 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.[8]

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 detailed 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 accomplishmentsEdit

Amateur wrestlingEdit

High school footballEdit

Professional wrestlingEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Greg Oliver & Steve Johnson (2007). "Baron von Raschke". the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame - The Heels. ECW Press. pp. 391–394. ISBN 1-55022-759-9.
  2. ^ a b c d Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
  3. ^ a b Gary Will & Royal Duncan (2006). "(United States: 19th Century & widely defended titles – NWA, WWF, AWA, IW, ECW, NWA) NWA/WCW TV Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  5. ^ a b c Cawthon, Graham (2013). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 3:Jim Crockett and the NWA World Title 1983-1989. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 149480347X.
  6. ^ "Starrcade 1986". Pro Wrestling History. November 27, 1986. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Cawthon, Graham (2013). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 1: WWF 1963 - 1989. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 1492825972.
  8. ^ Cawthon, Graham (2014). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 4: World Championship Wrestling 1989-1994. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 1499656343.
  9. ^ http://www.caulifloweralleyclub.org/baron-von-raschke-to-be-honored-this-year/
  10. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "(Kansas and Western Missouri) West Missouri: World Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 253. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  11. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "(Kansas and Western Missouri) West Missouri: North American Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 253. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  12. ^ "NWA North American Tag Team Title (Central States version)". wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  13. ^ "N.W.A. Florida Television Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  14. ^ "Mid-Atlantic Title History (NWA World Tag Team Championship Title History 1975-1978)". Mid-Atlantic Gateway. Archived from the original on May 17, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  15. ^ Meltzer, Dave (2012-12-10). "Mon. update: Major Spike announcement tomorrow, Aces & 8s identity, TNA injury updates, Hall of Fame inductions announced, WWE two PPVs this weekend, Jericho schedule, Amateur wrestling hits MSG first time ever". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  16. ^ Gary Will & Royal Duncan (2000). "(Minnesota) PWA Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  17. ^ "W.W.A. World Tag Team Title (Indianapolis)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.

External linksEdit