TV & Showbiz

Gabbi Tuft, the first openly transgender former WWE star, returns to wrestling

Gabbi Tuft, a former star of World Wrestling Entertainment and the organization’s first current or former member to come out as transgender, will return to the ring this month, she said on social media on Sunday.

Ms. Tuft, who retired more than a decade ago, fought in the WWE under the name Tyler Reks gladiator with dreadlocks who weighed 250 pounds. She left the organization shortly after the birth of her child and has since become an online personal fitness and nutrition coach and a TikTok personality with over a million followers.

On Sunday, Ms. Tuft announced that she would perform for West Coast Pro Wrestling on Tuesday at the Irvine Improv, a venue in Irvine, Calif., that hosts professional wrestling events. The match, she said, would be broadcast on YouTube and other national television stations at a later date.

“Mother is arriving,” Ms. Tuft said on social media. “Everything that is unfolding is according to plan,” she added. “Stay true. There is more to the plan than what you see or what you think.” Her opponent was not announced.

In an interview with The New York Times last year, Ms. Tuft, who publicly came out as transgender in 2021, said she first started dressing as a woman during the pandemic but initially denied it. She believed it was similar to taking on a persona in the ring and justified it as another “form of role-playing”.

Months later she came out to her wife. The following year she posted a photo of herself for a portrait of her old WWE persona, Tyler Reks, on Instagram.

“This is me. Unashamedly, unashamedly me. This is the side of me that has been hiding in the shadows, afraid and fearful of what the world would think; afraid of what my family, friends and followers might say or do,” Ms. Tuft wrote in the accompanying caption. “I am no longer afraid and I am no longer anxious.”

In Sunday’s social media posts announcing her return to wrestling, Ms. Tuft wrote, “Mother will lead her children to redemption.”

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