The 'Road to Wrestlemania' has begun and if yesterday'sRoyal Rumble is anything to go by, it will certainly be a rocky one.

The pay-per-view started smoothly. The three tag matcheswere satisfactory - nobody expected anything more from an understandably weakundercard - and then came the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match.

Adding Seth Rollins to make it a Triple Threat match wassurprising gamble but it paid off.

The 'future of the WWE' showed just what afine wrestler he is turning into and blended well with the power of BrockLesnar and John Cena. The 'Beast' demonstrated his overwhelming physicalitybefore Rollins and Cena were simply allowed to wrestle, without the usual levelof interference and underhand tactics. Rollins stole the show with somebreathtaking moves, including a flying elbow through the Spanish announce tableand a corkscrew moonsault.

Cena again showed resiliance (and didn't get pinned)while Lesnar retained the title so they were no real losers in this match, notleast the audence who were treated to a thrilling contest.

Then the Rumble began. The main event actually started well witha surprise appearance from ECW legend, and Philadelphia favourite, Bubba RayDudley. The crowd lapped it up as R-Truth stood in for D-Von to hit Miz with aWassup Drop and a 3D.

Bray Wyatt has managed to retain his popularity over thelast year and produced a solid performance after entering the match at #5. Helasted almost 50 minutes, eliminated six men and even grabbed the microphone todeliver a Punk-esque promo between entrants.

But the match took an ominous shift when Daniel Bryan made asurprisingly early entrance at #10. Ah, so the crowd favourite will pull off anarduous journey through to the end of the contest, akin to Rey Mysterio in2006, we all thought.

No, Bryan was dumped out about ten minutes later.

This, of course, riled the notoriously harsh Philly crowd.They sensed a feeling of deja vu as at last year's Royal Rumble Bryan producedan epic match with Wyatt, only to be overlooked for even an appearance in theover-the-top-rope challenge. It took an epic uprising from the WWE Universe toearn him a deserved spot in the Wrestlemania main event.

Now the WWE bosses must have expected a negative crowdreaction to Bryan's elimination. Yet they let eventual winner Roman Reigns takethe heat when he entered immediately after - baffling. And why prolong theconstant booing and chanting of Bryan's name by waiting until entrant #25 todeliver the next fans' favourite, DeanAmbrose.

During this lull, there was opportunity to take the stingout of this reaction.

Kofi Kingston usually comes up with some remarkabledisplays of athleticism but all he had to offer was a moment when the Rose Budscaught and then meekly returned him to the apron.

There were hopes that Damien Mizdow (who was cheeredthroughout his tag team match earlier in the night) would get his opportunity duringthis event but, after defying Miz and entering the ring, he lasted only a shorttime.

At this point there was still hope. Former Shield teammatesAmbrose and Reigns were battling with The Authority's stooges Kane and BigShow. The company's best heels Rusev and Wyatt remained and there was theprospect of the reinstated Dolph Ziggler, another superstar the fans would loveto get a push, to come.

This optimism quickly vanished as the lumbering Big Show andKane eliminated Ambrose, Wyatt and Ziggler in quick succession.

What happened next was one of the most baffling wrestling scenesI have witnessed. We were down to the supposed final three of Reigns, Kane andBig Show - although none of us had forgotten that Rusev was hiding awaysomewhere. The Authority members ganged up on Reigns until they turned on eachother and basically eliminated themselves.

The crowd and Twitter users were understandably livid bythis point and not even Vince McMahon's ultimate desperation move eased them. Theentrance music of The Rock blared out (something which is happening far toofrequently these days) and The Great One proceeded to layeth the smackdown onKane and Big Show, aiding his Samoan cousin. Then Rusev finally made it back tothe ring and fell victim to a spear from Reigns, allowing the powerhouse toearn the most underwhelming of victories.

Now, for a surprise appearance from The Rock to end with himholding Reigns' arm in the air to a chorus of boos seems crazy. But everyonesaw this for exactly what it was - a desperate attempt to give popularity tothe WWE's chosen star that only served to cheapen the organisation and, inturn, its fans.

The fact the WWE felt they had to resort to this hopelesstrick should have signalled the signs that this was the wrong move. It isn't somuch about someone more deserving such as Bryan or Ziggler winning, it's thatthey hung Reigns out to dry.

Roman is clearly talented and deserves a bright future inthe WWE. But instead of letting him grow into a main event star, he is beingthrust into the limelight without cutting a decent promo or pulling off a greatmatch yet.

There were better storylines there, sure. I would have lovedto have seen Ziggler finally get the push into the big time he deserves, orBryan once again excelling as the ultimate underdog on the biggest stage ofall. Even the culmination of Rusev's war with America would have been morebefitting of Wrestlemania.

The main gripe though is that the powers that be let Reignsget verbally crucified by fans. As well as the timing of his entrance, therewas nothing to help him win the crowd back. Unusually there was a lack ofsurprise entrants, the most notable absentee being Randy Orton. The 'Viper' hasbeen out of action since early November and a return could have livened up thebattle with members of The Authority.

Roman wasn't helped by a notable slowness of the contest. Bythe time Reigns eliminated his last foe, viewers were bored of one big guyafter another stomping around the ring and quickly eliminating any superstarwho tried to quicken the tempo.

So the WWE has let its fans down once again with afrustratingly bad Royal Rumble. There were many paths to go down to produce anentertaining event but, as with Batista v Orton last year, we are left with theprospect of a painstakingly average Wrestlemania main event. 

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