Bruno Mars meets source of nickname: Bruno Sammartino | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Bruno Mars meets source of nickname: Bruno Sammartino

FILE – In this Feb. 15, 2017, file photo, retired professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino examines U.S. rower Amanda Polk's Olympic gold medal at the 81st Dapper Dan Awards and sports auction, a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, in Pittsburgh. Sammartino met with pop singing sensation Bruno Mars on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, when Mars' 24K Magic World Tour stopped in Pittsburgh, after Sammartino heard Mars was nicknamed "Bruno" as a baby because Sammartino was Mars' father's favorite wrestler. (Haley Nelson/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP, File)
August 23, 2017 - 10:22 AM

PITTSBURGH - Bruno Mars has met the man he's nicknamed after: former pro wrestling champion Bruno Sammartino.

The two met Tuesday night when the pop singing sensation's 24K Magic World Tour stopped in Pittsburgh.

Sammartino heard through friends that Mars, born Peter Gene Hernandez, was nicknamed "Bruno" by his father because he was a "chunky" baby. The wrestling legend — now 81 — was about 275 pounds in his prime and the favourite wrestler of Mars' father.

Sammartino told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he didn't know much about Mars before the meeting, but came away "extremely impressed."

"I hope he's like that in everyday life. He was the most humble, nicest guy," Sammartino said. "He couldn't have been more respectful."

Sammartino jokingly gave Mars a picture of himself in his wrestling "prime" to prove he was more muscular than chunky, and a replica of his championship belt from what was then known as the World-Wide Wrestling Federation. The group is now known as World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE.

Mars posted a picture of the meeting on Instagram saying, "I was nicknamed after this professional wrestler Bruno Sammartino. Tonight in Pittsburgh I had the honour of meeting him!"

Mars, 31, told the website RapUP in a May 2010 interview that his dad nicknamed him for the wrestler.

"Bruno is after Bruno Sammartino, who was this big fat wrestler. I guess I was this chunky little baby, so my dad used to call me that as a nickname," Mars said. "The Mars came up just because I felt like I didn't have no pizzazz, and a lot of girls say I'm out of this world, so I was like 'I guess I'm from Mars.'"

Sammartino said Mars got curious enough about his career to check out clips of him in YouTube. He told Sammartino that he planned to chat with his father about the meeting.

"He told me, 'You know, I called my dad and told him I was going to meet with you today and he was so excited," Sammartino said

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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