In this latest series of posts, titled ‘Remember When?‘, we take a look at one off or fleeting moments in wrestling history. In this first post, ahead of this year’s SummerSlam PPV, we look at the legendary Baron von Raschke’s brief run as a manager in the WWF during the 80s.
Baron Von Raschke was a goose-stepping heel, portraying a German at a time when the fear of the war and Nazi tyranny were not yet that distant in the minds of many Americans.
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 (AWA) as a referee. It wasn’t long before he turned his in-ring duties to wrestling. Mad Dog Vachon urged him to play on his German roots and adopt a heel persona and the character Baron von Raschke was born.
As well as goose-stepping to the ring, he adopted a ‘brainclaw’ as his finisher and ending interviews with “Dat is all da people need to know!”. He is so synonymous with the claw finisher that he is featured in a WWE.com article on the topic of superstars that used the hold.
During the 70s and 80s he would win numerous singles and tag titles throughout NWA and AWA territories. His notoriety would lead him to the occasional appearance for the then WWWF where his claw hold would be censored on screen due to the blood in drew.
But, in a blink and you might have missed it moment, did you know he would spend a brief time in the WWF in the 80s as a manager?
At SummerSlam ’88, he debuted in the corner of The Barbarian and The Warlord, known as Powers of Pain. He led the pair to a victory in just over five minutes against the team of The Bolsheviks. However, his run with the company would prove to be short-lived and by November 1988, The Baron would leave the WWF. That was before the company’s second Survivor Series event where the Powers of Pain turned heel, aligning themselves with Mr. Fuji in the process, in a double turn that saw WWF tag team champions Demolition become babyfaces.
Soon after, Raschke resurfaced in the AWA, returning to the ring to feud with Soldat Ustinov and Teijho Khan in late 1988. He would go on to captain “Baron’s Blitzers” during the company’s ill-fated Team Challenge Series. When the AWA folded, Raschke continued to wrestle for independent promotions, primarily in the Minnesota area, retiring from active wrestling in 1995.
During his lengthy career he would win, amongst a host of titles, the AWA tag titles, the NWA North American tag team titles with Harley Race, the mid-world tag titles 3 occasions – with Paul Jones twice and Greg Valentine once, and the World Class Championship tag titles with the late Dusty Rhodes.
A Kickstarter project saw wrestling fans bring to life a documentary on the career of Baron Von Raschke. All in all, 265 fans pledged some $30k to allow the film to be created. Here is the official trailer:
Want more information on Baron Von Raschke? Then check out his official website here.