Cheer star Gabi Butler is ready to take her athleticism to a new sport.
The longtime gymnast has officially signed a contract with WWE, she exclusively shares with PEOPLE.
Butler says she fell in love with wrestling this summer after attending SummerSlam in Nashville. “I was blown away by what they put on,” she says.
The Netflix breakout star admits she’s new to the sport, considering her athletic career until now was focused on cheer. “I was so involved in the cheerleading industry for so long, and I never really looked into anything other than cheerleading,” says Butler.
“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 says she admired “the way they performed” and the “competitive” atmosphere, which isn’t so different from her experience in cheerleading.
“It was almost like I was watching a cheerleading competition, but wrestling edition,” she laughs.
While she was at SummerSlam, Butler spent time with WWE Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon, who she says “really inspired” her to take the leap into the WWE world. “The way she carries herself is very impressive and the conversation we had was so nice,” Butler shares.
Both cheering and wrestling require a certain level of performance, says Butler, who was “honestly shocked at” the similarities between the two.
“It’s very related to cheerleading because we’re performers, we’re entertainers, we like to put on a show and we also have to be athletic.”
Butler’s partnership with WWE won’t have her competing in the ring just yet, but she’ll be training at WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando and will attend the biggest events in the sport as she immerses herself in the wrestling world.
“I would definitely love to take that challenge, hopefully in the future,” Butler tells PEOPLE of getting in the ring for a real match one day. “You have to be committed to be wrestling, that’s for sure. It definitely doesn’t look easy.”
In the meantime, she’ll continue to cheer while she figures out where she wants to sign next. “This year is the first year that I’ve actually taken a break from cheerleading,” says Butler.
“I did a tour this summer, and that was very, very time-consuming thing, mentally and physically. So I took this year off and I’m currently thinking about where I would want to cheer in college next year.”
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Butler has two years left of eligibility for college athletics, but she says Navarro, the school she attended while filming Cheer, isn’t one of her options.
“I can’t go to Navarro again because my time with Navarro was done,” she says. “I’m thinking about multiple things right now. So I just don’t know where I’m going to sign next.”
While she considers her next move as a cheerleader, Butler is excited to see where her partnership with the WWE takes her. “I never thought that cheerleading would take me on this route, but here we are.”