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What is the greatest match in wrestling history? That is a rhetorical question, since you will get thousands of different answers depending on who you ask. There is no right answer, because wrestling fans all watch wrestling for different reasons and their tastes are going to be defined by their age, what promotions they typically watch, what type of wrestling they prefer, and other mitigating factors.
So WWE's decision to market the upcoming Edge vs Randy Orton match at Backlash as "the greatest wrestling match ever" doesn't pass the smell test. How can a match that hasn't happened yet be hyped up as the greatest match ever? Why would the company choose to market the match like this?
The obvious problem with the slogan is that it puts Edge and Orton in a position to fail. They could have a really, really good match, but if it isn't the viewers favorite match in the history of wrestling, it will not have lived up to expectations. It is an unfair burden for any wrestler, regardless of who they are or what promotion they work for, to try to live up to those expectations.
If you were to swap that slogan out for something like "A wrestling classic" or something like that, then it could totally work as long as they had a good match. Setting the bar at "greatest match ever" is too high of a bar for anyone.
I suppose there is the idea that if they say it enough times, they can will it into existence because there are some WWE sycophants out there who will mimic that sentiment regardless of the actual quality of the match. That is such a small segment of the fanbase though that to get that kind of reaction, and it strains the credibility for the other 99 percent of fans.
Even though wrestling is prone to exaggeration, there has to be some level of truth to the marketing aspect of it. I don't think any WWE fan expects the Orton vs Edge match to be the greatest match they have ever seen, so to market as such ends up making the company look like they are desperately reaching to convince people to tune into Backlash.
Which brings me to the idea that the slogan is all part of the angle, that the match will hardly take place. The match will start and Orton will immediately kick Edge in the balls, get himself disqualified and thus robbing the fans of seeing "the greatest wrestling match in history." It would be kind of cheap, but it would also be a creative way for them to continue their feud and it will get more heat on Orton. That way WWE doesn't really put unusual pressure on Orton and Edge to deliver a legendary match.
That being said, if we take the message at face value, that WWE really believes this could be the greatest wrestling match in history, it asks a lot of questions. I find it really hard to believe that a wrestling match that does not take place in front of a real, honest crowd can be the greatest match in history. I have seen hundreds of matches in the empty-arena setting and my take away from every single one of the good matches is that while the match can be good, it would have been even better in front of a live crowd. Wrestling is just better in front of a live audience.
It also asks the question if the greatest match in wrestling history can even take place in WWE in 2020, even if it was in front of a hot crowd. Most WWE fans seem to be in agreement that the company has been better at different points in history, and certain matches have been put onto a pedestal that have put them out of reach from any contemporary performances. Whether it is Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker at WrestleMania 25, Ricky Steamboat vs Randy Savage at WrestleMania 3, or even something like The Rock vs Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 18, those matches hold a special place in the hearts of fans that will never be breached by a match that takes place in 2020.
Edge and Orton had a very bad match at WrestleMania this year, even if they don't want to admit it publicly. The match wasn't bad due to their own inadequacies, it was booked to go too long and featured too much patterned backstage brawling. It seems like part of the reason the match at Backlash has this ridiculous slogan is to respond to the criticism of the WrestleMania match, that instead of having a goofy brawl for 40 minutes, they are going to have a good-honest-to-god wrestling match inside the ring.
I'm sure that Edge and Orton will have a very good match if they do go down that road, both guys are smart and have good chemistry with each other. The fans see them as big stars and their feud has been pretty interesting despite the failure at WrestleMania. It just isn't going to be the greatest match in wrestling history, and WWE attempting to label it as such is only going to hurt the company's already waning credibility with its core audience.