Does CM Punk deserve your respect?

Does CM Punk deserve your respect?

Is it better to be feared or respected? Based on CM Punk’s attitude these days, the meanings behind these words seem to share more than a few similarities in the mind of the WWE Champion.

Just six days before defending the WWE Title against John Cena at Night of Champions, Punk arrived on Monday Night Raw with a purpose. Not only did the brash Second City Saint interrupt Bret “Hit Man” Hart’s emotional reunion with the WWE Universe in Montreal after 15 long years, but he had the audacity to call The Excellence of Execution “overrated.” ( WATCH | PHOTOS) This type of abhorrent behavior has become typical of the WWE Champion, who doesn’t seem to care who he hurts — physically or emotionally — in his ongoing mission for respect.

Even though Punk’s night began with a bold assertion of his worth as WWE Champion, it ended with a heated and perhaps even humbling encounter with the “Hit Man” and Cena. After attempting to strike the celebrated WWE Hall of Famer, Punk left Montreal’s Bell Centre stunned and sore after Hart retaliated with a hard punch to the head. The blow to Punk’s ego might have been worse.

Punk clearly didn’t find the respect he was looking for in Montreal, and will likely never be fully satisfied with the level of admiration he receives from the WWE Universe and his peers. Yet, given the WWE Champion’s successes and the obstacles he’s overcome, is The Second City Saint nevertheless worthy of your respect?

The Sept. 10, 2012, edition of Raw was a historic evening for Hart, who returned to Montreal for the first time since the controversial events at Survivor Series 1997. However, the evening also marked an important milestone for Punk. At 296 days, CM Punk’s WWE Title reign tied with “Superstar” Billy Graham as the 10th longest of all time. Moreover, since ensnaring the championship at Survivor Series of last year, Punk has turned back the likes of The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho and, yes, John Cena, in defense of WWE’s most illustrious prize. Despite Punk’s uncanny ability to stay at the top of the mountain and his prior connection with the WWE Universe as “The Voice of the Voiceless,” The Second City Saint hasn’t competed in a pay-per-view main event since December of last year, and as Paul Heyman noted on Twitter ( @HeymanHustle), it’s Cena — not the WWE Champion — that graces the official poster for this year’s Night of Champions event.

“Why is the CHALLENGER on the poster for @WWE Night of Champions?” Heyman tweeted, further fueling speculation that the extreme anarchist is somehow in league with Punk. Regardless of the true nature of Heyman and Punk’s apparent association, is the founder of the original ECW right to pose such questions about the self-professed “Paul Heyman guy”?

Then again, after his recent attacks on Superstars and commentators alike, not to mention his outright refusal to actually compete in matches on Raw, perhaps the WWE Universe will never be able to respect Punk fully again — WWE Title or no.

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