Jim Raschke won a high school state title for Omaha Central High School and moved on the University of Nebraska , where he was Big 8 Conference champion. He also won two AAU national titles and in 1963 placed third in the world championships in the Greco-Roman style of wrestling.
He spent two years in the Army and taught high school one year in Omaha before starting a professional career. Joe Dusek got him started, and he began working for Verne Gagne. As a professional, he was a huge attraction as Baron Von Raschke, stomping into the ring and using the feared claw hold. He was a top box-office draw for two decades and won many titles, including half of the world tag team championship with Mad Dog Vachon.