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Mariah May Shines After All About Eve Victory Over Toni Storm

When Mariah May signed with AEW last November, Tony Khan announced her addition to the roster on social media, with the relatively standard statement ending with the simple phrase: AEW is All About Mariah.

At the time, this was a tad unusual, but few fans took it too seriously. They were either excited to see the former Club Venus member land in AEW, or they didn’t really know much about her at all. For the few fans who were acquainted with her, either through cinema or pop culture, this tweet laid the groundwork for the next eight months of Toni Storm’s storyline. In true “Timeless” fashion, the resident of Warner Brothers Studios found herself a featured player in a storyline comparable to the entertainment industry itself.

All About Mariah is a clear reference to “All About Eve,” the classic 1950s film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz for 20th Century Fox. In the movie, a young Eve Harrington, played by Anne Baxter, ingratiates herself with Bette Davis’ aging Margo Channing to catapult herself to stardom. Harrington adopts some of Channing’s mannerisms and becomes a fixture in her life. However, when she attains success, the tables turn, leaving the aging Broadway star behind as the young starlet ascends to the award-winning spotlight.

With an award in hand, in this case the Owen Hart Cup and the belt that comes with it, May took her Harrington turn in a more aggressive direction, unlike anything Mankiewicz could have imagined. She attacked Storm and Luther just before Dynamite went off the air, leaving fans with the haunting image of the number one contender for the AEW Women’s Championship holding up her bloodied mentor by the hair, a triumphant smile on her face.

Was the timing of this turn unexpected? Sure, it likely could have come closer to All In or even at the show in England next month. However, with ample time to develop the storyline further, it’s clear Tony Khan has something up his sleeve, as he’s been planning this for months.

While the decision to embrace the “All About Eve” theme in Mariah May’s relationship with “Timeless” Toni Storm has been evident from the beginning, there was always a chance that the storyline could have evolved differently. This seemed plausible especially with the new trio appearing to be rounded out by Mina Shirakawa at Forbidden Door.

Interestingly, in an interview with TV Insider a few weeks before Forbidden Door, Khan was asked about the cinematic influences on AEW and he mentioned “All About Eve” and “Sunset Boulevard” in the very first sentence.

“All About Eve and Sunset Boulevard changed the course of AEW,” Khan told TV Insider. “Those are two of my favorites. If you’ve seen them, you know what I’m talking about. With ‘Timeless’ Toni Storm, I took a lot of influence from those when I wanted to make her a character and lead off with her. We have a great tie-in with Turner Classic Movies. One influence came at the start of the lockdown. There were a few days before we had to do our show during the lockdown, which I think was March 18, 2020. I had a lot of time to watch other shows and what others did during these situations.”

“I watched the late-night shows where they were using Zoom. I watched Stephen Colbert do his show and it was great and had great jokes but something felt weird without an audience. I watched Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. He had a production team and crew mic’d up and laughing at jokes. It sounded like a comedy club. It felt more natural than anything I’d seen on the talk shows. That inspired me during the lockdown era in AEW because I put the wrestlers around the ring so there would be an audience, people cheering and making noises like we’re used to. It changed the show compared to the arena show and resembled the territory shows I grew up on. There were less than a hundred people at Techwood studio for Saturday’s TBS wrestling. There was also Memphis TV and another studio show. I think we did the best shows when it came to the lockdown wrestling.”

Kudos to Khan for leaning into the Turner Classic Movies influence, which is undoubtedly a boon for Warner Brothers Discovery, given it’s part of their television offerings. While the storyline could potentially have been stretched a bit longer, this is the narrative AEW wanted to unfold. It appears it will culminate in a significant payoff at Wembley Stadium next month.

Source: TV Insider, Twitter