Cheer Star Gabi Butler Never Expected She Would Make This Major Career Jump

Gabi Butler emerged as one of the breakout stars of Netflix's hit documentary series "Cheer." The show, which premiered to great success in January 2020, follows a cheerleading squad from a community college as they prepare to win the coveted National Cheerleading Championship. It was met with widespread acclaim, with critics praising its accurate and honest depiction of cheerleading as a sport. The show scored plenty of Primetime Emmy nominations, including three wins. And Butler — known for her flexibility, athleticism, and outstanding flying skills — quickly became a fan favorite.

But shortly after the first season of "Cheer" aired, 24-year-old Butler revealed to Elite Daily that she'd left Navarro College to join another cheerleading squad in Miami called Top Gun All-Stars. In her chat with the outlet, the Florida native also opened up about her life beyond cheerleading and her plans for the future. "I don't know how much longer I'm planning on cheering because, I'm not old, but I've been cheering for a really long time," said Butler, who began cheering at age 8. "So after a while, my body is not as fresh as it was." At the time, Butler said she might be interested in working as a stunt double. "That's something I would absolutely consider. [But] it is really dangerous," she said, adding, "I've never really been the type to plan out my life; it kind of just happens ... I kind of go with the flow of things."

And while a stunt performer might seem like a natural progression for Butler, the athlete has decided to take her career in a decidedly different direction.

Gabi Butler signs with WWE

Gabi Butler is delving into a new sport that is a far cry from the glitz and glam of cheerleading and gymnastics. In a recent interview with People, the 24-year-old "Cheer" star said she signed a developmental contract with WWE as she explores a potential career in wrestling. Explaining the unexpected move, Butler said she fell in love with the sport after attending the 2022 SummerSlam in Nashville. "I was so involved in the cheerleading industry for so long, and I never really looked into anything other than cheerleading," she told the outlet. "But when I went to SummerSlam, it really just opened my eyes to the athleticism and the dedication the athletes bring into the ring."

Butler said she was especially amazed by how similar the sport is to cheerleading — from the intensity of their performance to the competitive atmosphere. "It was almost like I was watching a cheerleading competition, but wrestling edition," she joked. Since her announcement, Paul "Triple H" Levesque has gone on Twitter to congratulate Butler for signing with WWE, writing, "Sky's the limit for @GabiButlerCheer... excited to welcome this incredible athlete to the @WWE Performance Center!" 

Fans of Butler also reacted to her surprising new gig, with one fan tweeting, "gabi butler signing w the WWE is the most gabi butler thing ever." According to People, Butler's contract with WWE doesn't mean she'll be jumping into the ring just yet, although that's one thing the "Cheer" star would "definitely love" to do. "Hopefully in the future," Butler said. "I never thought that cheerleading would take me on this route, but here we are."