The respect WWE champion CM Punk demands is not deserved for a weak champion who walks out on matches and loses more frequently than any champ in recent history.
Punk claims he's the best in the world.
He's a great wrestler. Actually, to say he's "great" is an understatement. CM Punk is one of the best in the ring, gifted with amazing technical talent.
Furthermore, the man can talk as well as The Rock.
So he can wrestle, and he can talk. Then how can he possibly be considered a "weak" champion by any stretch of the imagination?
Just look at his track record (in reverse chronological order).
Punk arrived with Paul Heyman by his side for the Sept. 24 edition of Monday Night Raw, screaming for respect as has become the norm. Soon after, Punk went on a tirade against a wee, defenseless referee. Later the same night, he would mock GM AJ Lee and attack legend Mick Foley. Not to mention, he attempted to attack a fellow superstar who had only one good arm to fight with.
A referee, a female authority figure, an over-the-hill legend and a banged up peer.
What a tough guy.
In 313 days (and counting) as champion, not too many of Punk's victories in 2012 have been overwhelmingly legitimate.
Teaming with Alberto Del Rio on Sept. 17, Punk was the man pinned in a loss to John Cena and Sheamus. Though it should be pointed out, Punk's foot was on the ropes. Still, it should have been Del Rio who suffered the pin.
At Night of Champions, he was pinned by Cena as well.
Of course, the WWE Universe was told that both men's shoulders were equally on the mat, so Punk kept the title.
The week before NOC, Punk attempted to strike Bret Hart. That resulted in a punch to the face, but not one given by Punk in surprise as he intended. No, instead the 55-year-old Hitman nailed the "Voice of the Voiceless" right in the mouth.
Add 62-year-old Jerry Lawler to the list of men who (a) Punk has berated and cheap-shotted and (b) have punched Punk in the mouth.
The champ sure does get beat up a lot.
Let's continue going back though. On Raw 1000, Punk was lucky to have The Big Show interfere as Cena was about to win the main event match. This was the infamous night of Punk's official heel turn, as he delivered a vicious kick to The Rock when he least expected it.
Notice a trend?
At No Way Out, he retained his title with help from AJ, who distracted challengers Kane and Daniel Bryan. At Over the Limit, the WWE Champion magically pinned Bryan, but was actually tapping out in the process. Dating back to Feb. 2012, Punk didn't even technically win at Elimination Chamber, as Chris Jericho was never officially eliminated.
As you can see, he loses matches so easily.
When he does win, half of them (or more) are in such cheap fashion.
"Of course, because he's a heel," you say.
That shouldn't matter. There can be strong heel champions. The Undertaker and Triple H are two examples that immediately come to mind. Taker destroyed all in his path during his Ministry of Darkness time with, or without help. Triple H typically used foreign objects, but he rarely cowered and ran away from opponents.
Which brings me to my next point.
As WWE champion, CM Punk sure runs away a lot.
Let's see the WWE champion and World Heavyweight champion square off on Raw with both titles on the line. Nah, Punk doesn't feel like it. He took a day off.
Let's put Punk with Dolph Ziggler and have them face Randy Orton and Jerry Lawler. It should be an easy enough victory for Punk's team since (no offense considering what actually happened that night) Lawler at that point was aged and didn't wrestle often.
Yet Punk walked out.
So he walks out on matches. When he does finally fight, he often loses. And when he does finally win, it's in cheap fashion with some sort of controversy.
Again, he's a heel, I get it. But this shouldn't happen nearly every time.
More so, it wouldn't happen to a strong champion.
But people have loved Punk ever since his infamous "Pipe Bomb" incident. Speaking from the heart, Punk bashed WWE management, John Cena and various other legends. The move earned thousands of fans due to the realness of the rant.
"Realness." Was it real?
Most believed so until Cena pointed out it could have been a ploy.
Could Cena have been correct in his thinking that Punk purposely "dropped" the shoot promo knowing he would gain fans? It's definitely a possibility.
Think about it: Punk said WWE would be better with Vince McMahon dead. He even called his family stupid. Yet, here he is, a champion still, let alone employed after such strong words.
Don't say it's because McMahon loved the move and wanted to make money off it. McMahon has proven time and time again when he feels unfavorably about a superstar, that superstar is gone. And nothing strains a working relationship more than trash talking the boss, his family and his employees.
Then there's his gimmick.
You can easily make the argument that his "odes" are respectful. You could also make the argument that Punk is a walking advertisement for other people's work.
There's the Macho Man elbow, the Bret Hart pink, the Pepsi tattoo—the list goes on.
How much of Punk is original?
Lastly, his size does hinder him a bit. I'm not going to go as far as Kevin Nash and say CM Punk lacks a "larger than life personality" and that his lack of size is devastating to the business of wrestling and the prestige of the WWE Championship.
I will, however, agree that Punk's size makes him vulnerable.
Let me clarify with this hypothetical: Realistically, what is to stop The Big Show from coming down to the ring and doling out a WMD to Punk for the easiest win of his career?
Punk isn't all that much quicker than stronger guys like Sheamus and Cena. Punk was manhandled by Mark Henry before the World's Strongest Man went on the shelf too.
So he walks out, loses often and wins in shady fashion. The manner in which he delivers his speeches is unmatched, but the words are still scripted. He can't headline PPVs and now WWE has given him Heyman to help.
Granted, he doesn't make the decisions—creative does. The man is a fantastic wrestler and an equally terrific talker. But the character is not a strong champion.
All in all, Punk has yet to deliver an overwhelming message as champion that would command the respect he desires.
After 313 days, that's weak.