CM Punk's seemingly cold-hearted tirade last week during the WWE tribute to Paul Bearer wasn't at all what it seemed ... because we've learned Paul's family gave its stamp of approval before the shenanigans.
In case you missed last week's RAW, the WWE aired an emotional tribute to the late Paul Bearer ... and smack in the middle, CM Punk attacked another wrestler (Kane) with Paul's urn.
Paul's son Michael Moody tells TMZ, the act of desecration was pre-planned ... WWE's creative team approached Paul's family for permission before the stunt unfolded on live TV.
The team wanted to use the diss to promote next month's Wrestlemania battle between Punk and Undertaker ... and Paul's family was down with it.
Michael tells us, "We felt that dad would have wanted us at RAW last week and agreed to the angle … We knew Dad wouldn't have wanted it any other way.”