Follow TV Tropes


Awesome / Wheel of Fortune

Go To

___ENT __


Pat Sajak: Alright, we need three more consonants and one more vowel.
Contestant: C... D... B...
Pat Sajak: And your vowel.
Contestant: I.
Pat Sajak: [beat] ...Vanna is not moving. I'm afraid that's all the help you're gonna get, but it's okay, you have ten seconds, talk it out, try to think of anything you can. Remember, the category is Event... good luck.
Pat Sajak: ...WHAT?! [win music plays]

    open/close all folders 

    In General... 
  • Pretty much any $100,000 win, but especially:
    • The first $100,000 win, made even more amazing in that the contestant had just barely hit the $100,000 envelope, and his bonus puzzle had only one letter missing after he called his extra letters.
    • The second $100,000 win, by a pair of contestants in the December 4, 2002 episode who performed a clean sweep, leading to a then-record total of $121,831 (counting a $100,000 win in the Bonus Round). This was later beaten on February 13, 2007 by a team consisting of country singer Julie Roberts (playing for charity) and a contestant, who exceeded $120,000 by clean-sweeping and winning the $100,000.
    • The third $100,000 win, by a contestant who solved the bonus puzzle JOCKEY with only the O and E revealed.
  • Whenever a contestant makes a clean sweep (i.e. wins all the Toss-Ups and rounds, plus the Bonus Round).
    • On April 5, 2011, a contestant not did only that, but also went to the Bonus Round with the Million-Dollar Wedge and the Wild Card.
  • Any time a contestant solves a Main Game puzzle with only one or two letters showing (see Main Game below).
  • From Season 14 through Season 30, any Jackpot win.
    • The daytime version had a Jackpot wedge with different rules: the value started at $1,000 and went up by that amount each day until won. While wins in excess of $4,000 were awesome as they could put the game out of reach, the highest it ever got was $22,000.
  • Any Express from Season 31 onward. Even better is when they "ride on the Express" from beginning to end: i.e., hitting it on their first spin and filling out the entire puzzle with no wrong letters.
  • Any time a contestant wins more than one Wheel prize in a single round.
  • Any time a contestant wins more than $15,000 in a single round (excluding the Prize Puzzle bonus).
  • Any time a contestant who begins the round calls every consonant in a puzzle without any lost turns or mistakes on Free Play (or before Season 27, without using a Free Spin).
  • Any time all three contestants win $10,000+ in the main game. On December 12, 2019, this happened during a Secret Santa Sweepstakes.
  • Whenever a contestant solves a bonus puzzle with little to no help from the "three more consonants and a vowel" (see Bonus Round below).
    • Bonus points if the contestant gets it immediately or just before the buzzer.
    • Whenever a contestant solved a bonus puzzle without RSTLNE in it, regardless of the letters they chose.
  • Anyone whose letters allow them to fill in the bonus puzzle entirely, which typically gets a well-deserved round of applause and a good deal of sarcasm from Pat.
    • October 6 and 8, 1992: Contestant Dalet Brady managed to pull this off twice, completely revealing ASH CAN on her first episode and ZOO on her third. The latter is particularly notable since RSTLNE gave her absolutely nothing to work with, yet she played a hunch (based on the category of Place) and called C-D-Z-O.
    • February 13, 2004: Following a technical note  main game sweep, a couple chose C-H-V-A to fill in A CLEAN SHAVE.
    • October 16, 2009: The contestant chose C-H-F-O-W to fill in CHOSEN FEW.
    • February 16, 2010 (shown in the second part of this video): Despite being up against a more difficult puzzle (no Wild Card this time), the contestant nonetheless confidently chose Y-V-H-U to fill in VERY HUSH-HUSH.
    • November 5, 2012: H-D-P-O fills in ON THE PHONE, though the D wasn't needed.
  • It's common for a contestant to know the Bonus Round answer before picking his or her letters, and thus calls four letters that are in the puzzle. One particularly awesome instance (December 19, 2008) involved a Bonus Round answer of JIGSAW PUZZLE, for which Z-W-J-I were called.
    • It's very rare when a puzzle only has two different consonants aside from those in the original package. That hasn't stopped a contestant from calling H-F-Z-O before solving VALIANT EFFORT. This also happened with the puzzle A HIT OR A MISS in which, for the first known time, a contestant calls a Z in the Bonus Round.
    • Another instance was when the contestant obviously knew that the Bonus Round answer was JUNEAU ALASKA right away. Not as awesome as the above example due to his picks of J-C-K-A just not being as cool as Z-W-J-I, but still pretty awesome.
    • In 2003, a contestant called B-D-M-O on the bonus puzzle KOBE BRYANT, and solved it before Vanna could reveal the B's and O.
    • December 1, 2010: A contestant called Q-B-H-O on the very easy puzzle NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. As far as anyone can tell, this was the first known time Q has ever been called in the Bonus Round.
    • October 29, 2014: Q is picked for only the second known time when a contestant calls Q-K-W-O and solves UNIQUE WORK OF ART.
    • November 5, 2014, during a taping in Hawaii: "The good, old Q-B-K-O", as Pat called it, helps in successfully solving BACK TO SQUARE ONE.
    • November 18, 2014: Another Z call, as the contestant's F-W-Z-O fills in most of the puzzle FROZEN WAFFLES.
    • December 12, 2014: A contestant's combo of P-X-D-I results in a solve of EXIT POLL. This is only known time X is called in the Bonus Round.
    • January 16, 2015: Another Q; G-W-D-A-Q allows the contestant to finish off TRANQUIL WATER.
    • December 8, 2016: Contestant Thomas guesses M-C-Q-A to solve the puzzle QUAINT COTTAGE.
  • September 28, 2017: Contestant Mike solves PIZZA PARLOR right on the buzzer. The judges had to step in to investigate... and declared him a winner of $35,000.

    Main Game Solves 
  • Circa January 1985 (nighttime): D__ T_ ______ST_N__S ____ND ___ __NT___ (DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL). Solved for $27,500, in which the contestant, Renita, spent the entire lot on a full-sized Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham sedan and an Oldsmobile (Cutlass) Calais Supreme coupe (with a $6 gift certificate), one of at least two occasions somebody bought both of the cars offered. She went on to win $11,000 earrings in the bonus round, for a total of $41,050.
  • Circa 1985 (nighttime): _______N_ ____ (CLEVELAND OHIO).
  • Circa 1985 (nighttime): _______ N__ ____ (BUFFALO NEW YORK).
  • Fall 1985 (nighttime): T_TT_-___TT_ ___ _____ (TUTTI-FRUTTI ICE CREAM).
  • 1988 (nighttime): ___ ___ T__N__N_ ___T _'_ T__N__N_ (ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I'M THINKING).
  • December 8, 1989 (nighttime): ___ ______ _N_ _NN_ __N____T (MEL BROOKS AND ANNE BANCROFT).
  • September 10, 1992: _L_____ _N _ __N_N_ ___L (SLIPPED ON A BANANA PEEL).
  • April 26, 1993: ___ & R________ _R____ (TOM & ROSEANNE ARNOLD).
  • May 18, 1994: _T_'S _____S & __TT-____ (MTV'S BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD).
  • June 6, 1994: __ ___NN ______N_ ____N (DR QUINN MEDICINE WOMAN).
  • December 23, 1994: C________ ______ (CHRISTMAS WREATH).
  • March 7, 1996: B___ ____ (BORN FREE). According to the next day's interviews, this was a total fluke; since he thought the category was Place instead of Title, he guessed B, thinking it was BORA BORA.
  • April 2, 1996: ____ & __RR_ ___ ____ (DICK & JERRY VAN DYKE).
  • September 26, 1996: G____ _GG_ ___ ___ __ __. _____ (GREEN EGGS AND HAM BY DR. SEUSS). Also led to the first-ever Jackpot win.
  • Week of December 30, 2002: ___S__ _R____R _S _R. _R_S__R _R___ (KELSEY GRAMMER AS DR. FRASIER CRANE). Not surprisingly, said contestant confessed to being a big Frasier fan.
  • April 29, 2003: S______ ___ S__ (SANFORD AND SON).
  • December 20, 2004: A Toss-Up of __ __ __ __ _A __ __ __ __ (FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA).
  • May 6, 2005: N_N-_____ ____N_ __N (NON-STICK FRYING PAN).
  • May 29, 2007: A Toss-Up of ___ __J _____ (THE TAJ MAHAL).
  • December 14, 2007: ___NT__ _____ T___ __ ____ (COUNTRY ROADS TAKE ME HOME).
  • April 25, 2008: S_S___ ___ (SISTER ACT).
  • November 26, 2008: ____ T__T T_____T (HOLD THAT THOUGHT).
  • February 6, 2009: T__ ___ T__T __T ____ (THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY).
  • November 16, 2009: B____TB___ ____ __ ____ (BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME).
  • December 17, 2009: __TT__ ____ ________ (LITTLE ROCK ARKANSAS).
  • November 19, 2009: T__ B____ B___H (TOM BRADY BUNCH).
  • December 1, 2009: S_____ & S_____-___ (SHAGGY & SCOOBY-DOO). Also led to a Jackpot win. This contestant said he had extra time to ponder the answer since his opponents were calling incorrect letters.
  • January 7, 2010: T__ ___T __T_ T__ ___T (THE HOST WITH THE MOST).
  • January 8, 2010: _______T__ ___T_ ________ (CHARLESTON SOUTH CAROLINA).
  • May 3, 2010: A Toss-Up of ___ ____Y ____ (THE WINDY CITY).
  • May 4, 2010: A Toss-Up of ___Y ____ (NAVY PIER).
  • September 15, 2010: ______ ___SS__S (CHERRY BLOSSOMS).
  • September 22, 2010: A Toss-Up of ___ _-___M (THE A-TEAM).
  • October 28, 2010: T_E_'_E __EE__ ___ T_E_'_E _____ (THEY'RE CREEPY AND THEY'RE KOOKY).
  • November 5, 2010: _'__ ___ _ ____ ___L___ _____ ____ (I'VE GOT A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THIS), a Prize Puzzle. Yes, that's one letter out of twenty-seven. Pat was dumbstruck for several moments, and the contestant (Caitlin Burke) appeared on several talk shows after her big solve.
  • May 12, 2011: ___S____ _____T_T___ (FRESHMAN ORIENTATION).
  • May 19, 2011: ________ __N ___N__ (ELECTRIC CAN OPENER), which actually ended up proving why it's not always a good idea to solve as quickly as you can. Since it was a Speed-Up, he could've easily let time run out (as it's very unlikely his opponents would've known the puzzle that early, and one could've easily called an S) and waited for control to come back for him so he could call the C's to win the game. Instead, he lost by only a couple thousand.
  • January 24, 2012: ______-T____ ____ (COFFEE-TABLE BOOK). Bonus points to the contestant for not being thrown by the improper hyphen.
  • June 8, 2012: A Toss-Up of __________S (BRIDESMAIDS).
  • November 12, 2012: A Toss-Up of _ ___ ____ __N (A FEW GOOD MEN).
  • December 18, 2012: ___________ N__ ______ (ALBUQUERQUE NEW MEXICO) A literal Speed Round, as it was solved in three seconds.
  • January 1, 2013: __T __TH TH_ ___ __ __TH TH_ ___ (OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW), with both spins good for the Wheel Prize and the Gift Tag. The same contestant later won the ½ Car by picking up both tags in the second round and solving the puzzle.
  • January 31, 2013: _E ___ __ES_ ___ ___ SE____E __ __E _ES_ (BE OUR GUEST PUT OUR SERVICE TO THE TEST).
  • February 7, 2013: A Toss-Up of ___ ____M ____ (THE DREAM TEAM).
  • March 6, 2013: A Toss-Up of ___D___ C__ ____S (READING CUE CARDS).
  • April 29, 2013: A Toss-Up of ______ _F _______ (STATUE OF LIBERTY).
  • October 1, 2013: A Toss-Up of __. _______'S ____ (MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS).
  • October 29, 2013: A Toss-Up of _____-_R- ________ (TRICK-OR- TREATING).
  • November 12, 2013: C_RN___ ____ __N (CORNISH GAME HEN).
  • December 3, 2013: A Toss-Up of ___I__ _______ R__N (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN).
  • December 3, 2013 (again): __SH & ____ ______ (FISH & GAME WARDEN).
  • February 17, 2014: A Toss-Up of _____ _R D___ (TRUTH OR DARE).
  • February 19, 2014: G__NG ___ _____ (GOING FOR BROKE).
  • February 25, 2014: T_____T_______ (THOUGHTFULNESS).
  • March 25, 2014: _______ST _T T______'S (BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S).
  • May 2, 2014: R____ ________ __ _R_. _______R_ (ROBIN WILLIAMS AS MRS. DOUBTFIRE). Even better, his only spin hit $2,500.
  • December 26, 2014: A Toss-Up of ___ ___E ______ (THE LONE RANGER).
  • February 16, 2015: A Speed-Up of T_______ ___ _ T___T____ (TRAINING FOR A TRIATHLON)
  • February 17, 2015: A Speed-Up of ____________ __T__ (CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH)
  • February 25, 2015: DON'T ___ _O_ __ ____NT_N_ (DON'T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA)
  • March 4, 2015: A Toss-Up of _______Y __R_Y (BIRTHDAY PARTY)
  • March 4, 2015: A Speed-Up of N___-____ N_______ (NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR). Solved by the same person as the BIRTHDAY PARTY Toss-Up.
  • March 5, 2015: A Speed-Up of TH_ ______SS ___ TH_ ____ (THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG)
  • October 21, 2015: A Speed-Up of ___SS__S _______ (BRUSSELS BELGIUM)
  • February 17, 2016: A Speed-Up of __T_T______ ____ (OUTSTANDING WORK).
  • This contestant managed to guess "FISHERMAN'S WHARF", with only an "s" present. And during a "toss-up"!
    Pat: "Do you have a cab outside with the meter running?"
  • November 21, 2017: _ TR__ __NT_____N (A TRUE GENTLEMAN). Helped by one of the other contestants incorrectly guessing "A REAL GENTLEMAN" after just the N's.
  • May 11, 2018: __TT__ ____ ________ (LITTLE ROCK ARKANSAS) (and a repeat of December 17, 2009). This time, she bested a contestant from Arkansas in the process.
  • February 26, 2019: A Toss-Up of ___N____ __T__ (CHANNING TATUM)
  • March 4, 2019: _ ______'_ _E __PP_E_ (I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER). Pat repeated the "meter running" gag in response to this one.
  • March 12, 2019: A Speed-Up of __T_R_ ___ __TR_____ (ACTORS AND ACTRESSES)
  • March 13, 2019: A Toss-Up of __W ______S (NEW ORLEANS). This was the very first puzzle of the day. It was answered so quickly, Pat was not able to properly finish his introduction.
  • May 23, 2019: A Toss-Up of _EE Y__ ____R __L______ (SEE YOU LATER ALLIGATOR)
  • September 12, 2019: Toss-Ups of _________Y (DICTIONARY) and ___L_ ______C (WORLD ALMANAC). This was part of a Triple Toss-up in which all three puzzles are connected to each other in some way (The previous puzzle was ENCYCLOPEDIA.). Said contestant who solved these puzzles caught on to the theming.
  • October 28, 2019: A Speed-Up of ST_________S ___ _______ _____ (STRAWBERRIES AND WHIPPED CREAM)
  • November 4, 2019: A Toss-Up of ______N _____ (CHICKEN WINGS)
  • December 13, 2019: A Speed-Up of T__ ___ __TT__ (THE MAD HATTER)
  • February 5, 2020: A Toss-Up of ____ _________E (FORT LAUDERDALE)
  • February 26, 2020: _ _____ ____ N_ _T___ (A PLACE LIKE NO OTHER). Both Pat and Eliot, the contestant at the blue podium, stared over in astonishment. This solve came up on CNN.
  • September 26, 2021 (Celebrity Wheel of Fortune): ___'_E _____ _EED _ ____ER ____ (YOU'RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOAT). Solved by Jason Alexander.

    Bonus Round Solves 
  • March 30, 1982: SL__ST___ ___E__ (SLAPSTICK COMEDY). Contestant Merielen, shortly after given her time, out of the blue spits out the word “SLAPSTICK” and is instantly able to put “COMEDY” with it for the win. note 
  • September 3, 1982: __L__RT __D S_LL____ (GILBERT AND SULLIVAN).
  • Circa Fall 1984 (nighttime): STR___ERR_ ___ (STRAWBERRY JAM) to win a Chevrolet Corvette. Comes right at the buzzer (and is ruled a win), and is only her second guess. Her first guess, STRAWBERRY PIE (which wouldn't have fit anyway, since she guessed E), comes immediately after given her time.
  • February 1985 (nighttime): TR___ ____ER (TRIAL LAWYER).
  • February 1985 (nighttime): __T T_ __N__ (OUT TO LUNCH).
  • April 1985 (daytime): _LL __ _ S____N (ALL OF A SUDDEN). Even better: The contestant, Chuck, had swept a four-round main game (winning a $7,833 Mazda truck in the speed-up round, in lieu of taking an $8,000 Gucci gift certificate) to win $14,852 on the day. He proved to be an excellent game player, talking out the sparsely filled in puzzle and … once the words "ALL OF A … " came out, the answer came to him – and also a win – "ALL OF A SUDDEN."
  • December 1988 (nighttime): E__N__ (EGGNOG).
  • October 2, 1989 (nighttime): S____RON (SQUADRON).
  • November 1990 (nighttime): L_____E (LUGGAGE).
  • January 25, 1991 (nighttime): _O___-_ORSE (HOBBY-HORSE).
  • 1991 (nighttime): _R_M__ (GRUMPY).
  • May 6, 1992: DE_A __ (DEJA VU).
  • May 8, 1992: __EN_ (BUENO).
  • September 7, 1992 and May 13, 1996: _R__ (FROG). Yes, it happened twice. The former also followed a main-game sweep, and it was also the known instance of Pat pretending to frisk a contestant.
  • October 5, 1992: _A_ (WAX), a great example of thwarting the Bonus Round's Fake Difficulty.
  • Fall 1992: ____ ___ (BABY BOY). That's right, no letters were on the board.
  • April 14, 1994: S__S (SKIS).
  • April 18, 1994: _E___LE (KEYHOLE).
  • January 12, 1995: R__E_ (RODEO).
  • January 23, 1995: R___ (ROOF).
  • March 31, 1995: ___ O__ __SE (WAY OFF BASE). Even better, this was Friday's puzzle, and the previous four bonus puzzles were also solved. The result was a perfect Bonus Round week.
  • May 15, 1995: ___E _L_N (GAME PLAN).
  • May 31, 1995: _EN__S (GENIUS).
  • Fall 1995: T__E _ ___ (TAKE A BOW).
  • January 25, 1996: ___S_ER (WHISPER).
  • March 29, 1996: _ D_ (I DO).
  • April 15, 1996: __L_ (GULF), solved by a contestant who swept the game.
  • October 2, 1996: __DE (JADE). Even more amazingly, the contestant said that he saw the letters CDMO on a license plate and chose them, and while they only gave him a D, he still managed to solve it.
  • March 10, 1997: ___LE (BUGLE).
  • May 6, 1997: __TT_N __ (BUTTON UP).
  • September 7, 1998: _L___T _RE_ (FLIGHT CREW).
  • February 5, 2001: ____ER (GOPHER). Pat pretended to frisk the contestant after he solved.
  • February 9, 2001: I'M S_ _____ (I'M SO HAPPY), solved by a contestant who had already won $65,250 before the Bonus Round.
  • March 21, 2001: _AR__E (BARBIE).
  • September 6, 2001: ___S (JAWS).
  • December 3, 2001: __L_ (BALI).
  • December 4, 2001: __NK ____ (JUNK FOOD).
  • November 12, 2002: ___E _P (WAKE UP).
  • February 17, 2003: ______RM (BOOKWORM). Solved at the last second with an assist from celebrity partner Alison Krauss.
  • March 20, 2003: __M__R_ (HAMBURG).
  • April 24, 2003: _O__E_ (JOCKEY). See above.
  • October 21, 2003: _____PS (HICCUPS). Pat jokingly said he would retire if she managed to solve it.
  • May 18, 2004: __ ___T TO _O_ (MY GIFT TO YOU), solved at the last second.
  • June 1, 2004: __ST_RY ____ and September 11, 2008: _IST_R_ ____ (HISTORY BUFF). The latter also followed a main-game sweep.
  • September 10, 2004: ___TAR ____ (GUITAR PICK).
  • September 20, 2004: M_T_ ____ (MATH WHIZ). Pat screamed "WHAT?!" when the contestant blurted out the answer.
  • March 7, 2005: _R___ ___T (GRAVY BOAT).
  • March 10, 2005: _____ING and January 13, 2011: _A_A__N_ (KAYAKING).
  • September 28, 2005: _I_____ING (KICKBOXING).
  • October 21, 2005: S__N_ (SKUNK).
  • October 31, 2005: _NS_N_ _ER_ (UNSUNG HERO).
  • November 1, 2005: ___L TR___LE (FOUL TROUBLE). Two contestants in a row managed to solve their puzzles despite their "three more consonants and a vowel" being of no use.
  • November 21, 2005: ____ L___T_EAR (BUZZ LIGHTYEAR). A $100,000 win during Teen Week, and just one week after another $100,000 win.
  • November 28, 2005: __L_ T_LE (FOLK TALE).
  • December 30, 2005: __ME____ (HOMEBODY).
  • January 4, 2006: _E__ER (HEIFER). The contestant called B and A among their letters, and was quick to figure out that it wasn't BEAVER.
  • January 20, 2006: ___SE_L_ (HOUSEFLY). This was Friday's puzzle, resulting in a perfect Bonus Round week.
  • February 3, 2006: _ _R___T __T_RE (A BRIGHT FUTURE).
  • March 15, 2006: ___ING T_E ___ (PAVING THE WAY).
  • March 24, 2006: M_TH ____ (MATH QUIZ). You try getting a tough word like QUIZ with nothing showing.
  • April 11, 2006: __L___A (BOLIVIA).
  • April 18, 2006: A ____ __T (A GOOD FIT).
  • September 15, 2006: __EL ____E (FUEL GAUGE).
  • December 7, 2006: H____EN (HOBOKEN).
  • March 7, 2007: IN ____E (IN VOGUE).
  • April 26, 2007: L____ _O_ (LUCKY YOU).
  • September 24, 2007: NO_ _ _NO_ (NOW I KNOW). Solved with one second to go.
  • October 29, 2007: R____ (RUGBY).
  • March 4, 2008: __ ___ DR_PPED (MY JAW DROPPED). Solved on the buzzer.
  • November 14, 2008: M_L_ ___ (MILK JUG).
  • January 28, 2009: __L__N_ (BALCONY), solved by a contestant who swept the game. That and the Bonus Round solve can be seen here.
  • March 18, 2009: __LD ___E (BOLD MOVE). Do you know how many words could fit in those blanks, even with nearly half the alphabet knocked out?
  • April 6, 2009: M____N T_PS (MUFFIN TOPS). Just before the buzzer.
  • May 22, 2009: ______E CL__M (BAGGAGE CLAIM). Also a buzzer-beating solve.
  • September 24, 2009: _R_E_ ___SE (BRIEF PAUSE).
  • December 15, 2009: ___T _O_ (GIFT BOX). Also solved at the last second.
  • April 11, 2011: S_L__ PR___ (SOLID PROOF).
  • March 5, 2012: __N_ - __ T__ (WIND-UP TOY).
  • October 16, 2012: ___TE _N E_ENT (QUITE AN EVENT).
  • November 21, 2012: C__N _AN_ (COIN BANK). Also led to a $100,000 win, and this was during the Secret Santa Sweepstakes.
  • December 11, 2012: _I__T S_N_ (FIGHT SONG).
  • March 21, 2013: _N T_E ___O_T (IN THE DUGOUT).
  • May 30, 2013: T__G_ __R___T (TOUGH WORKOUT). Again, Pat shouted "WHAT?!" when the contestant blurted out the answer. Even better, the G was her Wild Card pick, so she probably would've been toast had she not picked it up. See below for more info on this round...
  • November 18, 2013: __RE_ER ___N_ (FOREVER YOUNG). Another buzzer beater.
  • December 10, 2013: ____NT __LL_GE (QUAINT VILLAGE).
  • February 12, 2014: _TCH_ __L_ (ITCHY PALM). Solved just before the buzzer.
  • March 19, 2014: NE_ ____ _____ (NEW BABY BUGGY) A stunned Sajak jokingly frisks the contestant, looking for signs of cheating. The contestant, Emil DeLeon, later appeared on various shows much like Caitlin Burke did.)
    • In fact, this solve was awesome enough to get a secret trophy named after it in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Wheel of Fortune games, unlocked for solving any puzzle with less than 20% of the letters showing.
  • October 7, 2014: L_C__ ___ (LUCKY GUY). Solved at the buzzer.
  • October 28, 2014: __SH_ T__L (BUSHY TAIL).
  • January 2, 2015: _E__ING _____ET (WEDDING BOUQUET). Another solve on the buzzer.
  • January 27, 2015: ____L_ S_A_ (BUBBLY SOAP).
  • February 6, 2015: L___R_ _E__CLE (LUXURY VEHICLE).
  • November 23, 2015: ___LANT_R___ (PHILANTHROPY).
  • January 25, 2016: ___R __A__NAT__N (YOUR IMAGINATION).
  • March 11, 2016: __T_RE ___E (FUTURE WIFE).
  • February 1, 2017: _L__ __ _A_NT (GLOB OF PAINT).
  • February 14, 2019: C___ N___ (COZY NOOK). The contestant quietly mumbled it incompletely, and Pat had to tell him to speak up, upon which he spoke it more clearly at the very last instant to get it accepted.
  • February 6, 2020: ____N_ _ ___CER (BUYING A JUICER).
  • January 1, 2021: N___ _L__ER (NAVY BLAZER).
  • March 25, 2021: _E_N ____ET (JEAN JACKET). Solved by a contestant who had no extra help, even with a Wild Card.
  • October 10, 2021 (Celebrity Wheel of Fortune): A ___L __ _R__T (A BOWL OF FRUIT). Solved by Amber Riley, who also won the other half's Bonus Round. Her opponent Donny Osmond's jaw dropped.
  • October 11, 2021: _L____N_ __T (FLIPPING OUT). Solved just ahead of the buzzer following unfitting guesses of "SLEEPING OUT" and "SLEEPING COT".

    Other Moments 
  • January 1976: Judy Bongarzone, a big winner who also won the show's All-Star Dream Machine Championship, a total of $64,461.
  • Late 1970s: A contestant solves the first two puzzles but puts all his earnings on account. These moves later pay off as he is able to buy one of the new cars on stage and a slew of other prizes.
  • September 1983: The first nighttime Wheel, which had a noticeably higher prize budget than the daytime show.
    • The nighttime premiere offered over $85,000 in prizes, whereas daytime shows at the time averaged in the $40,000 range. Top prizes on the first syndicated show included a Pontiac Firebird (worth about $13,000) and a $5,000 "once-in-a-lifetime" trip around the world.
    • The $5,000 spot, which back then was really something to write home about. A lucky spinner, along with excellent gameplay, could quickly amass a score of $20,000 or more.
    • The top-end bonus prizes were typically more than $20,000, with one of the early ones - an Auburn roadster - topping the $60,000 mark; a log cabin (also offered during the 1980s) was worth $59,000. (Both the log cabin and Auburn roadster were won.) Numerous Oldsmobile Toronados and Cadillac Sevilles were also offered and won. Compare those offerings to the more common econo-car offerings (such as the Mazda GLC hatchback) and trips offered as bonus prizes on the daytime show, rarely topping $10,000.
    • The first big front-game winner, who solved THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA for $25,100 on the fourth episode...and went on to buy nearly everything in the "guest bedroom" showcase plus two cars (a Pontiac 1000 3-door hatchback and Pontiac 2000 {Sunbird} station wagon) and a trip to Japan. The prize budget for that episode was a paltry-by-syndicated-standards $55,000...and it was very quickly upped considerably.
  • January 1985: The other time on the syndicated run a player bought two cars.
  • December 1985: In the famous "THE THRILL OF VICTORY AND THE AGONY OF DEFEAT" episode, Terry's opponent, Niki - an older, excitable woman, to say the least - went on to win $10,000 in the Speed-Up (she used part of her winnings to buy a London-Paris vacation) and win a Mazda RX7 in the Bonus Round, salvaging what could have been a disastrous episode. The bonus puzzle: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT (which she excitedly exclaims for the rest of the show as Pat tries to throw to the closing credits).
    • Incidentally, in the "THRILL OF VICTORY ..." round, Niki used her $1,100 in winnings to buy a bedroom set. All told, Niki left the show with $28,716. (And in a Moment of Funny, Pat pretends to pass out as the closing credits are rolling, owing to the overall excitement of the show.)
  • Summer 1986 (daytime): Because of the Free Spin wedge and a few wrong letters from the yellow contestant, the blue contestant is denied the chance to even spin the Wheel. Thanks to a $2,000 Speed-Up, the blue contestant still wins the game.
  • November 1986: The all-time syndicated regular round winner during the shopping era was a woman who solved AN AMERICAN SUCCESS STORY for $44,300. (That's nearly $20,000 less than what Terry, the contestant who was unable to cash in with $62,400 on the infamous "THE THRILL OF VICTORY AND THE AGONY OF DEFEAT" episode.) By comparison, the top single-round winners on the daytime show seldom topped $10,000.
    • What makes this even more awesome is the fact that the contestant won three cars that night! The first one was a special prize in Round 2 and the other two were purchased from the aforementioned round.
  • November 14-25, 1988: The entire two-week stint in New York City. This was the first time Wheel had traveled, and it was such a success that traveling is now a tradition for the show. For a long time, Wheel was the only show that went on the road - Jeopardy! didn't hit the road until the late 1990s. The highlights of Wheel's stint in New York:
    • Don Pardo announcing, in his only appearance on a game show since Jackpot ended in 1975.
    • An extremely high budget (an RV and a boat were suspended above the set), with over $342,000 worth of prizes available (over twice as much as what the show normally offered at that time)!
    • A special set with diamond backdrops for the contestants (this would become permanent in 1991).
    • Cameos from lots of New York-born celebrities.
  • Early 1989: A daytime winner during Rolf Benirschke's tenure broke Bongarzone's record, albeit barely, with a total of $65,271.
  • Sometime in 1993: A woman who had absolutely no luck for the first five rounds suddenly wins the game with $15,000 thanks to a $5,000 Speed-Up, then wins a van in the Bonus Round. What really takes the cake is that both of her opponents had won at least $10,000 in the previous rounds!
    • An almost-identical incident happened on a Family Week episode in 1996, while WOF was on-location in Hawaii. A father-daughter team who had no luck in previous rounds solved the Speedup puzzle BETTY & BARNEY RUBBLE for $30,000, then won a $32,000+ transatlantic cruise aboard the QE2 in the Bonus Round.
  • January 1994: There are no words to describe the awesomeness of Raymond Taylor. Pat's reactions around him are equally priceless. The Funny Moments page describes him in greater detail.
  • February 20-24, 1995: The only "Some of the Greats" week, which brought back eleven former champions (yes, including Raymond Taylor) to compete for charity. TV Guide gave the show a "cheers" for this, but there were two problems:
    1. The contestants were more "zany" than "big winners", as their totals ranged from the $39,000-$91,000 regions and at least two weren't undefeated (in fact, one lost her second game by a huge margin).
    2. They were nighttime players from after Wheel moved to Television City (post-Season 6) — one player from Season 7, one from Season 8, one from Season 9, three from Season 10, and five from Season 11.
  • Sometime in the 1995-96 season: By some recollections, a contestant in Round 4 claims all FOUR prize wedges (Round 2 and 4 Prizes, Surprise, and the $10,000 Space), solves the puzzle, and wins over $20,000 in prizes alone.
  • September 12, 1995: The current champion hands in the Double Play token (only used for that season) and lands on $1,000, the second-highest possible value in that round. She calls two R's, which net her $4,000. The icing on the cake? The doubling causes her to win another game, as she narrowly beats the competition by $1,000 and change.
  • February 8, 1996: A team hands in Double Play and hits the $10,000 prize, which is one-third the width of normal wedges. Normally, the token didn't have any effect on prize wedges, only dollar amounts. However, it did apply for the $10,000 despite being a prize. It would be worth $20,000 if won, which it was. They returned the next day for Friday Finals, used the token again, and hit $1,500 for $3,000 per letter. The team went on to become the biggest winners in Wheel history with $146,529, a record that stood until the first million-dollar winner 12 years later.
  • Week of December 9, 1996: Four, count 'em, four Jackpot wins. One was on the Friday Finals, meaning that someone won the Jackpot twice.
  • The season premieres for 1997 and 1998 celebrated Labor Day (they both debuted on that Monday in September) with contestants who were all members of labor unions. 1998's also took place in Philadelphia, featured a cameo from the AFL-CIO's leader, and consisted entirely of prizes that were made in America by union members.
  • Week of February 9, 1998: On a show from Las Vegas, a contestant wins a custom-built Shelby Cobra worth over $105,000 in the Bonus Round. Even more impressive, as bonus prizes rarely exceeded even $30,000 at the time.
  • February 18, 2005: A contestant sets a one-round record of $54,000 in the Speed-Up. However, the contestant lost the $100,000 in the Bonus Round and, as a result, missed a chance at setting a new overall winnings record.
    • This record of $54,000 was later tied by two other contestants.
  • April 24, 2007: A contestant is apprehensive about his bonus puzzle being In The Kitchen, but still manages to solve with a wild guess of BACKSPLASH. He then asks Pat "What's a backsplash?"
  • Season 25 (2007-08): Any time a contestant landed on the Big Money Wedge and called a correct letter while $25,000 was showing.
  • October 14, 2008: The first $1,000,000 win by Michelle Loewenstein, which blew the aforementioned records out of the water. The first $1,000,000 and $100,000 wins also happened within a month of their debut. The odds against that happening are huge! (To make it even more impressive, the $1,000,000 winner picked up the Million-Dollar Wedge on her first spin.)
    • Her husband mentioned they would get another dog if they won the bonus.
      Pat: You better go shopping for that dog.
  • October 1, 2009: Contestant Jessica has $0 before the Speed-Up, but becomes the big winner with $24,000 thanks to a $6,000 Final Spin. This also results in a contestant finishing with a high 3rd place total of $13,700.
  • October 1, 2010: Chris, throughout the main game, spun the Wheel five times. After landing on a Bankrupt four times with the first one edited out (Pat would later note that he got four Bankrupts despite only the latter three airing), he lands on $5,000...only to call a letter not in the puzzle. During the Final Spin, he solves the puzzle with $24,000, and goes from $1,000 after solving only a Toss-Up to the Bonus Round, where he solves the puzzle and wins a further $45,000, leaving with a total of $70,000.
  • January 21, 2011: A contestant lands on a Mystery Wedge and decides not to flip it over, lest she risk the Caribbean trip she got earlier in the round. Later, she lands on the other Mystery Wedge...and decides this time that she will risk both $2,800 and the trip for a chance at $10,000 extra. She gets the $10,000 and then hits $3,500 on her next spin, eventually solving the puzzle for $17,000 combined. That took balls.
  • May 5, 2011: The blue contestant (Josh) fails to solve the $2,000 Toss-Up FRIENDLY FACES with only the C missing, and it goes unsolved. Because of this, he begins Round 3; he spins $3,500 three times in a row for 4 T's, 2 H's, and 4 D's, respectively (buying some vowels between spins), and then solves for a whopping $34,250.
  • December 21, 2012: Leanne wins $69,300 in the main game alone, including the $10,000 Mystery Prize, and $36,000 in the Speed-Up.
  • December 28, 2012: Exactly a week later, Cindy wins $42,000 in the Speed-Up, then $100,000 in the Bonus Round. Her end total of $147,000 puts her first among all non-million-dollar winners.
  • February 19, 2013: Curt has only spun twice in the entire game so far, landing on Bankrupt both times, and has nothing but the $3,000 from the last Toss-Up to his name. Pat's Final Spin is a middling $1,550 per letter… but thanks in part to finding five N's on the Speed-Up, he comes out on top and wins the Bonus Round as well. The Speed-Up puzzle? STUNNING TURN OF EVENTS.
  • May 30, 2013: The aforementioned puzzle TOUGH WORKOUT (see Bonus Round above) results in the second $1,000,000 win, and the contestant sets a new winnings record of $1,030,340.
    • And if that wasn't enough, the show that taped immediately after said episode (but would not air until June 11) had a $100,000 win.
  • September 17, 2013: In Round 3, contestant Luis lands on the new Express wedge on his first spin. He calls a right letter and decides to hop aboard. Cue him successfully filling in the entire puzzle DIVING NEAR CORAL REEFS by himself, thus netting $11,000 and a trip to Antigua. (Luis also ends up winning a Camaro in the Bonus Round.)
  • November 12, 2013: A pair of contestants enter the Round 5 Speed-Up with $2,000, only solving the second Toss-Up. With consonants worth $6,000, they solve the aforementioned CORNISH GAME HEN puzzle just before getting buzzed out with $18,000 in the bank, winning by just under $2,000. Even better, this was during the Secret Santa Sweepstakes.
  • December 31, 2013: Contestant Julie wins a car by landing on both ½ Car tags on the first two spins of the game and then solves the Round 1 puzzle.
  • February 10, 2014, the beginning of Valentine's Day Week at the Venetian in Las Vegas:
    1. The red team looks like they're going to pick up the Wild Card in Round 2, but at the very last second, the Wheel barely clicks over to $3,500. They call Y, of which there are four in the puzzle, and solve the puzzle.
    2. Thanks to a couple really fast rounds in between, the game goes to Round 6, a rare event in even a "normal" game — but as far as anyone can tell, the first time that it's ever happened on a week with two-player teams, and only the second time it's ever happened on a road show. The red team ends Round 6 quickly by solving AUSTIN TEXAS with just the N and T showing.
    3. Finally, they go to the Bonus Round with the Wild Card and solve BACKUP PLAN for $50,000, thus leaving Vegas with $76,300, all cash.
    4. On top of that, nobody hit Bankrupt or Lose a Turn in the entire game (although one team went Bankrupt on Express).
  • April 30, 2014: Contestant Trent Girone, a man who has undergone nine brain surgeries and has both Tourette's and Asperger Syndrome, appears on the show… and quickly becomes a Twitter sensation. Doubles as a Heartwarming Moment.
  • June 4, 2014: A contestant spends the first half of the game constantly landing on Bankrupt. Then, during the Prize Puzzle, when one contestant guesses a letter incorrectly, she proceeds to correctly solve the puzzle as WONDERFUL WARM WEATHER, winning a trip to Costa Rica. She then answers the $3,000 Toss Up correctly, which makes Pat joke that "she can have good luck as long as she doesn't touch the wheel." Then, she DOES touch the wheel during the next puzzle, but doesn't land on Bankrupt like before. After the Final Spin she correctly solves the puzzle, winning a total of almost $19,000. Then, during the Bonus Round, she solves the puzzle correctly and wins $100,000. Talk about turning your luck around!
  • September 17, 2014: Three days into the new season, Wheel of Fortune crowns its third millionaire. Even better, the contestant picked up the Million-Dollar Wedge on the last spin of Round 3.
  • December 26, 2014: Contestant Matt sweeps the game and wins $91,892 before the Bonus Round.
  • October 9, 2015: For the first time in over a decade, a game goes to seven rounds (meaning 11 puzzles overall, counting the three Toss-Ups and bonus round).
  • October 21, 2015: Sheri has $77,100 before the bonus round, which she then solves for $33,000 more to put her over $100,000 the hard way. On top of that, the game went to six rounds, the last of which was solved by her with only one letter showing (see above), and another of which had her hit Express on her first spin and use it to fill in the entire Prize Puzzle by herself.
  • December 23, 2015: Another game goes to seven rounds. It's the first known time this has happened twice in a single season.
  • March 25, 2016: Robert, an administrator on an unofficial fan forum (Buy a Vowel Boards), completely dominating the game, blazing through the first two Toss-Ups and Round 1 with speed (including only one letter on the first). He ends up taking home $76,086 including two cruises.
  • May 25, 2016: A $5,000 Final Spin leads to contestant Danielle tying the leader, LaToya, the first tie on the show in over a decade. LaToya solves the tiebreaker Toss-Up... and wins $100,000 in the Bonus Round.
  • December 1, 2016: During the annual Secret Santa Sweepstakes that airs around the Holiday season, two contestants solve OPEN _A_L_ (OPEN DAILY) using H, M, P, and O. But what makes this especially awesome is that they won $100,000 the day after a sibling duo failed to earn it.
  • February 27, 2017: Teen Best Friends week leads off in a big way. The red team plays the first two Toss-Ups and Round 1 by themselves, racking up over $20,000. Then the yellow team plays Round 2 by themselves and picks up over $20,000. Control passes around for the rest of the game, with the blue team winning to the tune of $26,030 plus $34,000 more in the Bonus Round. You know a game is going well when even the third place total is a number that, on any other day, would've been a runaway victory.
  • November 20, 2017: Contestant Steve Meyer ends up double dipping the $3,500 space with the Wild Card and solves the puzzle, which also happens to be the night's Prize Puzzle- he racks up over $21,000 in one round. Then Steve lands on the $5,000 space in the following round and solves that puzzle for another massive stack of cash and snags an additional $3,000 solving the final round puzzle, going to the Bonus Round with a staggering $54,420. He then solves the Bonus Round puzzle with pathetic ease to the point where Pat Sajak doesn't even try to build up the suspense... and wins a freakin' red Mercedes! It's worth $38,350, causing him to become the 35th season’s high-water mark at $92,770! This, after the previous week saw two hideous failures to win the $100,000 and an absolutely lousy November 17th Friday closer.
  • December 13, 2017: Contestant Jeremie not only gets a clean sweep with $33,387, but wins the bonus round by guessing C-P-D-O to solve C_PE O_ _OOD _OPE (CAPE OF GOOD HOPE). This scores him an extra $35,000 for a total of $68,387, all during the Secret Santa Sweepstakes.
  • December 25, 2017: Contestant Bill, after winning the game, reveals that he has been trying to become a contestant since 1988.
  • December 26, 2017: An impressive victory from contestant Joe, winning a Mini Cooper Convertible by solving ___ _F C___S (BAG OF CHIPS) even though the odds were against him with F-C-M-U as picks.
  • March 8, 2018: Shonda earns $48,954 in the main game, with trips to Fiji and France included in the deal. Then she solves the bonus round puzzle _AST _AREH__SE (VAST WAREHOUSE) with B-F-H-A as picks, winning an extra $45,000 for a total of $93,954.
  • May 2018: A contestant in the Bonus Round solves the puzzle right on the buzzer. It is so close that it has to be contested with the judges for a while and the show cuts to commercial break, not even going through the ritual of showing what she would win/did win. It is later ruled a buzzer beater and she is awarded $35,000 for her efforts, during the closing credits, no less! What a close call!
  • December 14, 2018: On the Friday episode of a Secret Santa week, a contestant has $2,000 after four rounds. Pat hits $5,000 for the Speed-Up, and she wins the game with a $24,000 solve. Then, she wins $45,000 in the Bonus Round. Pat comments on how happy she must have made her home player with that $69,000 turnaround.
  • February 26, 2019: Lori makes it to the Bonus Round and almost solves it while being completely deaf.note  Granted, she had her interpreter and best friend Lorraine with her, but Lorraine herself deserves praise as well for doing the interpreting under the normal time constraints of Wheel of Fortune.
  • May 21, 2019: Jerrica gets all three 1/2 Car cards during the Prize Puzzle and solves it, meaning she wins the car AND a trip to southern France with accompanying cruises up its rivers.
  • April 6, 2020: Tony Harrison is brought back due to an error on his first episode (his Bonus Round was placed in the wrong category). So how does he make up for it with his second chance? By winning $48,831 in the main game, then finally conquering the bonus round for $45,000 more and a total of $93,831!
  • April 8, 2020: Dave Andrade nearly sweeps the entire game (the only puzzle that he didn’t solve was the 2nd puzzle in the Triple Tossup), winning the $10,000 mystery wedge and a trip to Barbados. It doesn’t stop here. He calls a double on the $5,000 wedge in the fourth round, solving for $11,700. Then he solves another one to lead into the season’s second six-round game AND a $6,000 Final Spin. He solves that puzzle for $24,000, making him the 3rd highest main game winner of all time at $71,890. He then totally aces the bonus round for a brand new BMW, hitting six(-figures) the hard way with $113,055!
  • April 27, 2021: During a special week, contestants have a chance to win a home in a Margaritaville property through the Bonus Round. Contestant Laura manages to do just that, solving I CAUGHT A GLIMPSE for a brand-new home valued at $375,000.
  • May 10-14, 2021: For the first time since June 1-5, 2015, all five Bonus Rounds of the week were won. This also included four contestants in a row earning a fourth consonant with the Wild Card.

    International Versions 
  • Australia, April 2002: Jennifer, who can apparently not only solve almost any Major Prize Round puzzle in a couple of seconds, even when no letters are present; but won three holidays doing so.
    • ___ __N'T _EE_ _ ____ __N ___N. (YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN) She doesn't even wait for the timer to start before giving her answer.
    • T_ ___E T_E T__E __ ___R ___E (TO HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE). Rob tells her to do exactly what she did the night before, so she does - and solves it before the timer starts again.
    • The following night she won again. In the bonus round, given the clue that it's a movie title, she calls a rather unusual set of letters - T, H, N, D, M, Q (cue shocked gasp from Rob) and E (she also tried to call an S after the Q, but she only had six consonants so it was rejected, and was also an odd choice anyway given it didn't appear in the puzzle at all and she seemed to know what it was). The result on the puzzle board? Q_EEN __ THE D_MNED. Rob asked if she could at least wait until they got the timer running before she solved it (QUEEN OF THE DAMNED).
      • The S (attempted) call was potentially to have covered off the possibility of QUEEN OF THE DESERT as an alternate solution.
  • Germany, circa 1992: Kurt, who solved a puzzle with a record score of DM 54,850 in the third round of his episode. His total was enough to buy all the prizes on the stage, so the prizes were split evenly between the three contestants.
    • In a similar fashion to the abovementioned "THE THRILL OF VICTORY..." moment, Kurt landed three times on the DM 5,000 wedge, netting DM 55,000 from calling 2 S's, 3 R's and 6 N's. (By comparison, he received only DM 750 for calling three T's on his first spin.) After calling for three vowels - EINEN RATTENS___AN_ _INTER SI__ _ER_IE_EN - he correctly solved the puzzle (EINEN RATTENSCHWANZ HINTER SICH HERZIEHEN - approximate translation "Take a rat tail behind the back", possibly in relation to a hairstyle of the same name).
    • Kurt's score contributed to that episode's "Superspiel" jackpot of DM 63,950 in gold (which the contestants would also win).
  • Spain, July 2016: Contestant Germán, thanks to several lucky spins that landed him on the €1000 wedge and the X2 wedge twice thereafter, wins a total of €16,550 in a single round after coming dangerously close to hitting Quiebra (Bankrupt) three times. Special shows notwithstanding, his final total of €17,225 is still the one-day record in Spain.
    • Germán's win is even more impressive when you take into account that, until the Quiebra/€1000/Quiebra wedge comes into play in Round 4, the top money value on the wheel is just €200. As if that wasn't enough, he actually missolved earlier in the round without a Comodin (Free Spin) on hand, so control had to get back around to him before he could try again.
  • Spain, October 2019: Dani hits the €1000 and finds SEVEN S's for a total of €7000, but missolves immediately afterwards. In an incredible stroke of luck, the turn manages to come back around to him with a few more letters on the board, and THIS time he's able to solve for his seven grand.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: