Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ultimate Bet Sponsors WWE WrestleMania, by Tom Jenkins - Poker News Daily - 15th February 2009

On April 5th, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) presents WrestleMania XXV, which will kick off from Reliant Stadium in Houston, home of the Texans franchise of the National Football League. The annual spectacle is one of the storied events in the wrestling industry and includes an entire week’s worth of activities culminating in the Sunday night event. Online poker room Ultimate Bet recently announced that it is the official Canadian sponsor of WWE WrestleMania.

Annie Duke, who designed the tournament schedule for the Tokwiro-owned online poker site, commented in a press release distributed by Ultimate Bet this week, “We’re proud to partner with WWE on the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania and to offer one lucky player the ultimate entertainment experience to be part of all the drama and action of this pop culture extravaganza.”

As part of its sponsorship, Ultimate Bet will be hosting online qualifiers for a WrestleMania prize package. It includes roundtrip airfare for two to Houston, Texas, hotel accommodations, $500 in spending cash, and two tickets to the show itself. In addition, the package will also feature meet and greets with WWE stars, two replica WWE Championship belts, and a framed WrestleMania commemorative poster. Qualifiers are only open to Canadian members of Ultimate Bet over the age of 18 years-old. Residents of Quebec are not eligible. This year’s WrestleMania festivities will also feature inductions into the WWE Hall of Fame. The 2009 class is headlined by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

The very first WrestleMania was held on March 31st, 1985 at historic Madison Square Garden in New York. The inaugural Main Event featured the tag team of Hulk Hogan and Mr. T defeat “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik defeated Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham to become the new Tag Team Champions. Andre the Giant, then in his heyday, defeated Big John Studd. Others on the card included Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, King Kong Bundy, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.

The most recent running of WrestleMania occurred on March 30th, 2008. In a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship, Randy Orton defeated John Cena and Triple H to retain his title. The Undertaker bested Edge to become the new World Heavyweight Champion, while a highly-publicized encounter between boxer Floyd Mayweather and The Big Show ended with Mayweather winning by donning brass knuckles. Shawn Michaels defeated “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Kane outlasted a 24 man field to become the number one contender for the ECW title.

WWE, which was forced to change its name from WWF following a challenge by the World Wildlife Foundation in 2002, purchased rival World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 2001. The acquisition ended a battle between the two wrestling federations for control of Monday night programming, which pitted WWE’s “Raw” against WCW’s “Nitro.” WWE also purchased the rights to ECW.

World Wrestling Entertainment is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “WWE.” It closed trading on Friday down $0.05 to $9.24. It is near the bottom of its 52 week range, $8.76 to $19.86. An article released on Friday by the company noted that it outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 31% in 2008 and handed out a $1.44 dividend to shareholders. Its CEO is Linda McMahon, who has occasionally appeared as an on-screen personality during WWE programming.

Ultimate Bet recently merged player bases with sister site Absolute Poker to form the CEREUS Poker Network. According to, which tracks online poker room traffic, the CEREUS network is the sixth largest overall, with an average of 2,750 cash game players online. It sits just behind the Ongame Network (2,900) and ahead of Everest Poker (2,600). Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker accept players from the United States. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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