Lance Storm had the ability to be more than a puppet.
Appearing on the It's My House Podcast, Storm addressed Bruce Prichard's comments about his lack of personality being the reason he never made it higher on the card in WWE. According to Storm, he was instructed to perform that way and was even made to do retakes when he wasn't flat enough. Here is what he said:
"Well, the thing is, I honestly believe this is the misnomer of people getting worked or believing their own shit. If you go back and watch my ECW stuff, no one's going to say I had a lack of personality or a lack of character. In WCW, the particular character that I was doing was getting me very over in a very short period of time. When I got to WWE, I was specifically told and instructed to have no emotion, no personality, and be a robot. I was specifically told that their vision for me was Sam the Eagle from The Muppets. When I did promos in WWE, I was constantly told to do retakes because 'you're not flat enough. You're not monotone enough. We want you duller.' They would make me do retakes, and retakes, and retakes because that's what they told me they wanted, so that's what I did because I'm a professional."
Believing it to be a case of the different creative departments not communicating with one another, Storm reveals that after months of being directed to do one thing, he got word that WWE's top decision-makers were wishing he was doing the opposite.
"Jericho came to me one day and said, 'do you realize you're getting buried in production meetings for being flat and monotone on your promos?' I just looked at him like, 'they're making me do this shit.' He goes, 'oh, well you're getting buried as not having any personality in the production meetings.' I'm like, 'well then they're fucking morons because they're the ones telling me to do this.' Now, this might be a case of one hand not talking to the other. It very well could have been one writer had this vision for me as 'Joe Monotone Robot' but then when they're in the production meeting and Vince loses his shit, or Bruce Prichard or whoever, with a 'goddammit, why doesn't this guy have some personality,' that writer doesn't want to step up and take the heat and go, 'oh, I actually told him to do it that way.' Because then he's going to get yelled at with, 'well that's a stupid idea.' So that writer could have just said, 'well I do what I can with him, but he's got no personality,' and then you're labelled."
Once he started doing his Un-American character, Storm thinks his personality started to shine. He notes that it was a direct vision of Vince McMahon and worked closely with him on promos before shows. Even such, selective memory and convenient narrative for a podcast as reasons that label persists.
If you use the quote above, please credit the original source with a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.