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 where - 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!".
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 TV 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 1986, he wrestled for the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions reuniting 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 Championship with Ivan and Nikita Koloff.
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 promotion primarily in the Minnesota area, retiring in 1994.
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
- 1958 Nebraska State High School Heavyweight Championship (Omaha North High School)
- 1961 National Collegiate Athletic Association All-American (University of Nebraska)
- 1962 National Collegiate Athletic Association All-American (University of Nebraska)
- 1962 Big Eight Conference Heavyweight Championship (University of Nebraska)
- 1963 World Games Bronze medalist
- 1964 Olympic Team qualifier
- 1964 Amateur Athletic Union Freestyle Championship
- 1964 Amateur Athletic Union Greco-Roman Championship
- 1965 Worldwide Interservice Wrestling Championship (United States Army)
- 1985 inductee to the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame
High school football
- 1957 Nebraska State Championship – Omaha North High School
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Central States version) (1 time) – with Maurice Vachon
- IWA International Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- International Wrestling Institute and Museum
- George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (Class of 2002)
- NWA American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Brass Knuckles Championship (Texas version) (1 time)
- Other titles
- NSW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Tommy Jammer