Agree with Ankerson. If you have a specific task that you want to optimize toughness or wear resistance for, then sure, you could find "better" steels. Also "better" heat treatment. But fitting geometry to the task comes first.
Anybody can buy a fancy steel and grind out a blade. The measure of a good bowie is in how it handles.
Sal doesn't do things by accident, so there's a better-than-good chance the Respect is going to be great for what he designed it for. (Which, to be fair, will not necessarily be what you or I would try to use it for.)