Has CM Punk aligned with Paul Heyman?

John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio - Falls Count Anywhere Match: Raw, Sept. 3, 2012

John Cena and Alberto Del Rio brawl around the arena in a Falls Count Anywhere Match in the main event of Raw.

Well, he did say he was a “Paul Heyman guy.”

That, right from the get-go, was what WWE Champion CM Punk described himself as. “That’s right, I’m a Paul Heyman guy,” right there in the middle of the “pipe bomb” monologue ( WATCH) that changed his destiny as a Superstar and foreshadowed his run as WWE Champion. Punk identified with Heyman because the mad scientist “saw something” in The Second City Saint that nobody else seemed to acknowledge. He went to bat for Punk when nobody else seemed to want to, and he helped Punk get his foot in the door of WWE, igniting the spark that eventually grew into the cult of personality wildfire that surrounds Punk today.

Of course, that may have been a different Heyman, and this may be a different CM Punk. Perhaps Punk was always a “Paul Heyman guy,” but their paths have been so divergent of late it’s surprising to say the least that Heyman was The Voice of the Voiceless’ mystery driver, escorting Punk from the scene of the Falls Count Anywhere Match he so ruthlessly hijacked. (WATCH) Punk has been on a one-man quest for respect he feels he’s owed, beating down beloved WWE icons like John Cena and Jerry Lawler in an attempt to forcibly extract vindication from them when they wouldn’t give it of their own accord.

Heyman, on the other hand, has been entirely preoccupied with Brock Lesnar since returning to WWE after a five-and-a-half-year absence. He’s got his hands full with the full-time litigious nature of The Anomaly (there are still a couple of lawsuits pending if we remember correctly), and recently achieved arguably his greatest victory in this regard when Lesnar defeated Triple H via tap out at SummerSlam. Heyman has been joined to Brock at the hip since the duo reunited earlier this spring, and hasn’t so much as been in the same room as Punk as far as we can tell.

So the question is, why team up now, if they’re even teaming up at all? Surely it’s not unheard of for Heyman to give his old buddy Punk a lift to and from the arena. That doesn’t mean they’re in cahoots.

But then again, when do Punk and Heyman ever do anything by coincidence? Punk wants respect, and if there’s anybody who knows about earning respect, it would be Heyman. We don’t have to recite the entire ECW saga to illustrate the magnitude of Heyman’s achievements, or the obstacles he overcame. And if Punk’s latest bid for respect involves dismantling WWE’s status quo — beating down Lawler; robbing Cena of a victory — well, then, who better to ally with than the man who helped conquer WWE COO Triple H? ( WATCH: LESNAR THE CONQUEROR)

CM Punk is his own man, and always has been. We know this much. But if the ends justify the means (and with CM Punk, the ends always justify the means) we suppose you can be your own man and still be somebody else’s “guy,” in the process.

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