‘I cannot believe the day I just had’: Carmel resident a contestant on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ WWE week 


For longtime “Wheel of Fortune” viewer Ben Clark, it was a dream come true to learn he had been selected as a contestant for one of his favorite game shows. 

The experience became even more mind-blowing when he learned he’d be competing as a team with a WWE wrestler as part of a weeklong promotion of “WrestleMania.” Clark, a Carmel resident, has also been a lifelong fan of the WWE. 

The experience did not disappoint. 

“The whole thing was surreal,” Clark said. “We finished up taping, and my wife and I got back to our hotel room, and I was like, ‘I cannot believe the day I just had.’” 

Clark’s journey to the show began several months ago when he decided to apply as a contestant, something he’d been considering for years. He submitted a video application and had a virtual interview with a producer before competing against other possible contestants during an audition on Zoom. A couple of weeks later, he learned that he’d been selected to appear on a show that would be recorded Feb. 1. 

“It was a huge surprise,” Clark said. “It was very strange to think that all of a sudden I was going to be there and meet (hosts) Pat (Sajak) and Vanna (White) and spin that wheel, which you dream about.” 

During the audition, Clark deduced that he was being considered for the WWE week of episodes. But he didn’t know who his partner would be and didn’t find out until the day of taping the show, which was unveiled for all the week’s contestants in “dramatic fashion.” 

“We all met in the ‘Jeopardy!’ studio, which was also mind-blowing,” Clark said. “They gave a big introduction one by one of each wrestler who came out, and they were all in character.” 

Clark teamed with Ettore Ewen, better known as Big E, and described the wrestler as “a total class act” and “the best partner I could have had.” 

“We instantly gelled and worked well as a team. We had a great time just hamming it up on the show,” Clark said. “Like me, he grew up watching Wheel and knew all the ins and outs of the game. He also had been obsessively playing the Wheel of Fortune app to prepare. So I knew we had a good shot at winning big.” 

Clark didn’t expect much interaction with his celebrity partner beyond the show’s taping, but the wrestlers spent much of the long day of filming hanging out with the contestants, he said. He can’t share the results of the show until the episode airs March 29. 

Before taping began, Clark said he was nervous, but when the cameras started rolling, he began to relax and enjoy the experience. He said Sajak and White, who have appeared together on the show for more than 40 years, helped the contestants feel at ease. 

“They were awesome. I was taken aback by just how down to earth they seemed and how quick on his feet Pat Sajak is,” Clark said. “Wrestlers are big, huge personalities. They are totally in character and trash talking everybody, and Pat was hanging right there with them and slinging trash talk right back at them.” 

In a day full of surprises, Clark, who works as an after-school instructor at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, said he was also caught off guard by the size of the wheel.

“It was shockingly smaller than it looks on TV, but it was pretty heavy,” he said. “You had to give it a pretty good hard tug to really get it.”