Respect—a word that has been spouted from CM Punk's mouth far too often these past few months.
But according to a report from F4WOnline, the real reason for this is in the WWE setting up a potential WrestleMania clash between Punk and legend The Undertaker (h/t Wrestling Inc).
"Despite all the recent hype, there are people within WWE and close to Steve Austin who do not believe an Austin vs. CM Punk match will happen, even at WrestleMania 30," the story claims.
"All the talk of 'respect' is being done to set up a potential Punk vs. The Undertaker match."
As much as I understand the logic of playing up the "respect" card in light of 'Taker's well-known backstage standing, is this a main event WWE fans really want to see?
Of course if it were to take place, a John Cena vs. The Rock rematch would be certain to be the other high-profile match on the card, but addressing whether or not that's an appealing fight is a question for another article.
In my opinion, the Online wrestling community had begun to turn against Punk recently, having fallen deeply in love with the superstar following his epic shoot last summer.
Rather than being the man who speaks his mind, unafraid of the consequences, his feud with John Laurinaitis and now his heel turn have of turned him into a bit of a damp squid.
He has insulted the crowds and refused to fight as all good heels must do—but it is this conventional character development that has alienated many.
Punk has come in for a fair amount of blame for the drop in WWE television ratings recently, as an injured John Cena's involvement has been limited (via ProWrestling.net).
Though some of the criticism may be deserved, in my mind, a lot of the blame has to go the WWE creative team, who have failed to write a particularly good storyline for him since his feud with Chris Jericho earlier in the year.
Don't get me wrong, his PPV matches with Daniel Bryan were a technical feast for the eyes, but in terms of storytelling, the two failed to create much of a lasting imprint on the memory.
But of course, the question must then be asked, if Punk isn't the man to sell a WrestleMania showdown with The Undertaker, who is?
Few could honestly claim they'd want to see Triple H vs. 'Taker again, but how about either Cena or Randy Orton?
In the former's case, those who despise what the company's biggest name represents couldn't be too disappointed with a match that is sure to end with his defeat.
And in terms of Randy Orton, his popularity at present is even greater than Punk's, despite the fact that he's been kept out of the spotlight for a good few months.
For me, if Punk vs. 'Taker was to work, Punk's heel turn must be quickly disposed off, whether or not that means turning him back to babyface, or tweener, it doesn't really matter.
He has it in him to wrestle a cracking match with one of the greatest of all time, but not if he's going to cower in the corner or threaten to run away every time his opponent cocks his fist.
But it seems, if the report is to be believed, that the poorly conceived heel persona is here to stay.
Which begs the question, not whether or not CM Punk vs. Undertaker is the match we want to see, but if it's a match any of us want to see?
What do you think about a possible CM Punk vs. Undertaker WrestleMania showdown? If not Punk, who else?
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