This year's Road to WrestleMania feels like a construction zone.

Momentum is stalled, speed is halted and the scenery doesn't seem to change. Despite all the negatives, the promise of a new, improved motorway lies ahead in the future.

Coming off the heels of the Royal Rumble pay per view, Raw delivered a highly entertaining episode that seemed to kick the product into high gear.

Unfortunately, WWE has been unable to continue that momentum, slowing things down with a decent Smackdown last week and sending them to a screeching halt with this week's programming .

Monday's Raw was a letdown, and tonight's Smackdown, while not as bad, still failed to reignite interest as WWE moves toward Elimination Chamber and, ultimately, WrestleMania.

Many of the issues stem from root problems addressed in the past. WWE continues to have the same superstars compete week after week, the Great Khali is being treated as a featured attraction  and the in-ring action is being limited, while some deserving talent - including WWE Tag Team Champions Epico and Primo - are being excluded from the shows.

Without running the risk of sounding overly negative, however, there are several positives to look forward to as the red and blue brands move ahead.

The top of the card on each show is providing engaging progression, drawing viewers into the drama and building tension. Raw's main attraction interaction between CM Punk and Chris Jericho has had the wrestling world talking.

Friday's Smackdown featured a main event between World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton that continues building the realistic possibility that the heavily pushed Orton will dethrone the independent wrestling darling before the biggest show of the year.

Many do not believe WWE will have the faith to allow Bryan to carry the title into April, and at this point, Orton appears to be his biggest threat. The mere thought of another Sheamus vs. Orton match, however, is not appealing.

Hopefully next week's shows, which will be the go-home editions heading into the Elimination Chamber pay per view, will step up the quality, knock down the time spent on vignettes and video packages and deliver four hours of solid wrestling entertainment to the fans.


Quick Hits


  • The Orton-Bryan match, much like last week's CM Punk-Bryan match, was a good tease of what these two superstars would be able to accomplish given more time and a proper pay-per-view stage. I admit I had skepticism about the chemistry these two would have, but I've been sold on the pairing.


When Bryan tried to run away from the match, Big Show threw him back into the ring, where Orton hit an RKO on the champ. Bryan earned another victory by disqualification, and Orton and Big Show got into a scuffle. This kind of show ending sequence is the way to build anticipation for pay per view, as it keeps everyone's character looking strong.


  • They announced last week that Sheamus would wait until after the Elimination Chamber pay per view to choose which champion he will face at WrestleMania. So why exactly is he being given promo time on every show? Also, hearing Sheamus, who spent his first year roughing up every babyface on the roster, talk about being bullied and standing up for himself is a bit laugh-inducing.