Thursday, September 01, 2022

Gateway Interview: Baron Von Raschke (Part 4)


PART 1  | PART 2  | PART 3

Chappell: Was it originally the plan for you to stay in the Mid-Atlantic area longer than you did? 

Raschke: I don’t remember all of the details, but basically I was just homesick. I wanted to go home. It was all right with Crockett…so I did. 

Chappell: I can certainly understand your reasons for not staying at that point, but the angle with you and Charlie Brown was some great stuff! And having a manager, Gary Hart, was something new for Crockett fans to see. 

Raschke: Yes, but I had managers before in other places. Bobby Heenan was my manager in Indianapolis, and then later on in New York, Freddie Blassie was my manager for a little while. As far as Gary Hart in ‘83…it was just something a little different. Gary and I had been in Texas together at the same time. 

Chappell: I never felt you needed a manager. You were very skilled with your interviews, and you never seemed like a wrestler who needed someone else to talk for him. 

Raschke: Thank you. 

Chappell: Did you see your interviews as being a strength for you? 

Raschke: For some reason, I was always a real shy person… 

Chappell: (laughs) No way…that’s hard to believe! 

Raschke: It probably is…but everything I was, Baron Von Raschke wasn’t---he really became my alter ego. When I got into character it was real easy for me to think on my feet and respond to questions, ad lib, and go with it. That’s what the Baron does…can do, did do and probably will keep doing! 

Chappell: And as he has shown us this evening…the Baron is just as good as he ever was! 

Raschke: I try! (everybody laughs) 

Chappell: As you mentioned briefly just a moment ago, your last run with Crockett was in the mid 80s. The business was certainly changing a great deal by the 1986 time frame. You had been in the AWA again after the brief 1983 Mid-Atlantic stint, and you and the Crusher had lost the AWA World Tag Team Titles to the Road Warriors---a new breed of tag team. Wrestling had changed considerably from the last time you wrestled for Crockett in 1983. 

Raschke: This all runs together for me a little bit, but I think in the last [Crockett] run Ivan and Nikita Koloff had a third partner who broke his leg… 

 Chappell: Right…Krusher Khrushchev. 

Raschke: Yes…and he broke his leg, and I got a call that [the Russians] needed a partner to replace him. I think there was an upcoming six-man against Dusty (Rhodes) and the Road Warriors…or something like that. So, I was elected. That was my final run in there with Crockett. 

Chappell: Towards the end of that final run, I remember you wrestling as a babyface again. And even teaming up with another great veteran and Mid-Atlantic legend, Chief Wahoo McDaniel! I remember you and Wahoo teaming up in the 1987 Jim Crockett, Sr. Memorial Cup Tournament. 

Raschke: Yes, we did. Wahoo was one of my favorite people. 

Chappell: Really? 

Raschke: Oh yeah. He was a great guy and a great athlete…he was a great credit to the business. He was just a good person…really a big-hearted guy. 

Chappell: You and the Chief butted heads in your first run with Crockett. It was really something to see you all teaming together during that final stint! 

Raschke: There you were with a tag team…one guy with a headdress of Eagle feathers, and the other guy looking like a Bald Eagle! 

Chappell: (laughing) Something to behold! 

Raschke: Actually, those were turkey feathers…after the dog got a hold of the turkey! (everybody laughs) 

Chappell: After your last run with Crockett, didn’t you go to the WWF briefly…when they were gobbling up all the talent in sight in the mid/late 80’s? 

Raschke: Yeah, Vince (McMahon) was good…he flew me in just to fire me! 

Chappell: Gee… 

Raschke: At great expense. 

Chappell: At that time, didn’t Vince have you managing some people up there? 

Raschke: Yeah…tried to. 

Chappell: That didn’t last long, did it? 

Raschke: It didn’t last long at all. 

Chappell: I guess the last time I remember seeing you on a wrestling program was when the AWA was in its dying days, but their show was still running on ESPN. If I recall, you were involved in a Team Challenge Series as the AWA was about to peter out in 1990. 

Raschke: I was, and then I did a little wrestling for small promotions for a while after that. 

Chappell: Do you watch any professional wrestling today? 

Raschke: I do not. 

Chappell: None? 

Raschke: Very, very rarely. It’s not fun for me to watch. 

Chappell: Tell us some things about the Baron…post-wrestling. 

Raschke: Well, my wife and I bought a gift and souvenir shop and ran that for a time. And right about then, that’s when I started teaching school again. I also worked for the Minnesota Zoo for a while. Even during this time, I was still into wrestling a little bit. I was way up in northern Minnesota when we ran the gift shop…where it’s still cold and snowing as we speak! We stayed up there six or seven years with the gift and souvenir shop. 

Chappell: You must have worn a winter coat all year round up there! 

Raschke: That was about 300 miles from where we live now. 

Chappell: What is the Baron up to presently? 

Raschke: Actually, I’m in between bookings right now. I’m looking for work. 

David Chappell with the Baron
Charlotte 2005

Chappell: I know one booking that Mid-Atlantic fans are hoping that you will be a part of, and that is the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Charlotte over Thanksgiving weekend. Might we see you there? 

Raschke: I’ve been contacted about that, but nothing has been set yet. I’m considering it, but due to careful planning I can’t afford to retire until I’m (age) 105! 

Chappell: (laughs) Tell me about that, too! Obviously we would love to see you at Fanfest, but logistically you are a long haul from Charlotte.But I hope it works out; we’d love to see you there. 

Raschke: I’d love to come. 

Chappell: Are you currently doing any more substitute teaching? 

Raschke: No, my wife had me give that up a couple of years ago. When we moved down here, I didn’t resume that. 

Chappell: Where are you living presently? 

Raschke: We’re down the (Mississippi) River now, David . We live seven miles from where the Mississippi River starts. We live near the river, though, in Wabasha, Minnesota. 

Chappell: That’s beautiful country up there… 

Raschke: It really is. 

Chappell: Just a couple of final things as we wrap up Baron… 

Raschke: [Editor’s Note: The Baron Is Again In Character Voice Here!] ‘WE’RE NOT DONE YET???!!!’ (laughs) 

Chappell: (laughing) Soon! Since you’ve lapsed back into character, how did your famous catch-phrase ‘Dat Is All Da People Need To Know’ come about? 

Raschke: That particular one, came out of a thing with Marty O’Neill, who was an announcer in Minnesota. He was a small man, a short man, and all of the wrestlers towered over him. Even Mad Dog Vachon! But Marty was a great, great announcer and interviewer. And he called me up to the mic one time to be interviewed, and as you know, the interviews usually lasted two or two and a half minutes. Of course, I take my glasses off…and I can’t see two feet in front of me! 

Chappell: I know all about that! 

Raschke: Usually, there’s a guy out there that gives you a wind-up signal…you know, a cue that it’s time to quit talking. Anyway, Marty calls me up and I’m talking about whatever I’m talking about…blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’d finished what I was talking about, but I couldn’t see anybody winding us up! Marty, being the pro that he was, asked me another question…and I didn’t have an answer for it! 

Chappell: (laughs) 

Raschke: So I said, ‘DAT IS ALL DA PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW,’ and I stormed off!

Chappell: (laughing) 

Raschke: Marty was such a good announcer…and he loved that! He thought it was great, and he asked me to do it again when we did another interview. And again, and again. Pretty soon, the promoter would say, ‘You gotta do that; you gotta do that!’ So, that’s how that phrase started…and continued! 

Chappell: That’s a great story! That phrase is forever part of wrestling lore! 

Raschke: (laughs) 

Chappell: How difficult was it living your wrestling life in the persona of a hated German? I imagine at some points in time that had to wear on you? 

Raschke: I just sort of dealt with it. The Baron was such a nasty, vicious and despicable character…[Editor’s Note: The Baron Is Again In Character Voice Here!] ‘I JUST COULDN’T LIVE LIKE THAT 24 HOURS A DAY!’ 

Chappell: (laughing) 

Raschke: But anyway, the Baron turned out to be all right. He’s kind of like me…to know me, is to love me! I could separate my personal life from the Baron. 

Chappell: During your time in the Mid-Atlantic area, what were some of your favorite towns and places? 

Raschke: Well, I really enjoyed the Mid-Atlantic territory…the towns were all great. Your hometown Richmond was a great place… 

Chappell: Richmond loved the Baron too! At times, we loved to hate you, but you know what I mean! 

: (laughs) Yes, I do! Norfolk, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Charleston…they were all great. Great fans…great towns. I just have a lot of good memories from the Charlotte territory. Just a real good run there. 

Chappell: When you think about the times you wrestled in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, what are the first things that come to your mind? 

Raschke: I think back on all of the great talent that I worked with there, and the business like approach the Office had. The fans were great. I just have a good feeling about the Charlotte territory, and Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. 

Chappell: In closing, Baron, anything you’d like to say to all of your Mid-Atlantic fans out there? 

Raschke: [Editors Note: The Baron Is Again In Character Voice Here!] ‘The Baron hopes that some day, things will work out where I can come down and see all of my fans and friends from the Mid-Atlantic area. ‘Until that happens, I look forward to my next opponent…who’ll probably be the toughest one. ‘AND DAT IS ALL DA PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW!!!!!!’ 

Chappell: (laughing) What a perfect way to finish up! Well, Baron, you have been as entertaining tonight as you were during all your great years in the Mid-Atlantic area! Thank you for being so generous with your time this evening…it’s been great talking with you. 

Raschke: Good talking to you, David . You have a good evening, and continued good luck with the web site. And that REALLY is all you need to KNOW! 

PART 1  | PART 2  | PART 3  |  PART 4