Wheel Of Fortune Contestant Responds To Controversial Moment Pat Sajak Put Him In A Headlock On Air

 Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune
Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune
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Wheel of Fortune contestant Fred Fletcher-Jackson had a huge reason to celebrate, when he became the second player in a few months to sweep every single puzzle of a recent episode and walk away with a huge payday. The most memorable moment of the pro wrestler’s experience, however, came after the bonus round, as 76-year-old Pat Sajak put his own wrestling move on the contestant, wrapping his head in what’s called a “chicken wing.” It was a surprising play for the long-time host, and one that not all viewers were fans of. Now Fletcher-Jackson himself is speaking out against the backlash Sajak has faced.

Pat Sajak has taken some flak for the way he manhandled the pro wrestler on the March 21 episode of Wheel of Fortune, with some on Twitter saying that “laying hands on a guest, and in surprise, is in poor taste,” and some media sites reporting the host “tackled” or “assaulted” the contestant. However, Fred Fletcher-Jackson had a different take, saying the Sajak attack was the highlight of his night. He told TMZ:

As a pro wrestler and as a guy of showbiz — and as the guy that he was putting in the hold — I loved that moment. L-O-V-E in capital letters. That was one of the biggest highlights of the show. So for me personally to see, from my perspective, see the criticizing he gets online is a little unfair. I was the one who was put in the hold, and I was perfectly OK with it, in fact, I loved it.

Fred Fletcher-Jackson argued that if anybody were to be upset with Pat Sajak’s move, it should be him, since he was the one being chicken-winged, but since he LOVED (in capital letters) it, there’s no reason for anyone else to be concerned. The contestant continued:

So I don’t think they should get any more upset than I’m getting, because I was the one who was, like, ‘affected’ in that kind of way. If it’s not your sense of humor, I can understand that, like everybody’s sense of humor is different. But to call it ‘cringe’ and to call for his retirement is, like, taking it a little bit too seriously, I think.

Pat Sajak has mentioned retirement a few times, as he’s now been hosting Wheel of Fortune for over 40 years, but how terrible would it be for him to go out due to backlash from such a fun moment? Fred Fletcher-Jackson also revealed that Sajak is “stronger than he looks,” and if he’d been able to escape the hold, he’d wanted to counter the host and have a wrestling match. I’m actually kind of relieved that didn’t happen, because I wouldn’t want to see the septuagenarian try to take a folding chair to the face or anything.

If you missed the contestant’s amazing performance or Pat Sajak’s surprising wrestling move, you can see the full montage below:

Knowing that the player loved Pat Sajak’s move, I feel OK in thinking it was pretty brilliant, especially how it played to the celebratory mood after the contestant answered every puzzle correctly. That was certainly a nice change of pace from the often-excruciating rounds of terrible guesses we see on Wheel of Fortune.

Check your local listings to find out when to catch the game show in your area, and check out our 2023 TV schedule to see what new and returning shows are premiering soon.