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

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

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

The 'future of the WWE' showed just what a fine wrestler he is turning into and blended well with the power of Brock Lesnar and John Cena. The 'Beast' demonstrated his overwhelming physicality before Rollins and Cena were simply allowed to wrestle, without the usual level of interference and underhand tactics. Rollins stole the show with some breathtaking moves, including a flying elbow through the Spanish announce table and 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, not least the audence who were treated to a thrilling contest.

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

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

But the match took an ominous shift when Daniel Bryan made a surprisingly early entrance at #10. Ah, so the crowd favourite will pull off an arduous journey through to the end of the contest, akin to Rey Mysterio in 2006, 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 produced an epic match with Wyatt, only to be overlooked for even an appearance in the over-the-top-rope challenge. It took an epic uprising from the WWE Universe to earn him a deserved spot in the Wrestlemania main event.

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

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

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

There were hopes that Damien Mizdow (who was cheered throughout his tag team match earlier in the night) would get his opportunity during this event but, after defying Miz and entering the ring, he lasted only a short time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were better storylines there, sure. I would have loved to have seen Ziggler finally get the push into the big time he deserves, or Bryan once again excelling as the ultimate underdog on the biggest stage of all. Even the culmination of Rusev's war with America would have been more befitting of Wrestlemania.

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

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

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

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