Bruno Mars AND Madison Square Garden paid tribute to the late, great Bruno Sammartino…

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Since his passing earlier this past Wednesday, the tributes keep pouring in for the WWE and New York sports great Bruno Sammartino. The well-wishes, prayers and condolences were coming in from nearly every who’s-who in the world of professional wrestling, including a 10-bell salute before WWE’s most recent show in South Africa. It’s fair to say that Sammartino’s influence extended FAR beyond the world of professional wrestling to the general entertainment world; enter Bruno Mars…

Pop star Bruno Mars, who famously added the “Bruno” to his name because of Sammartino and finally met the legendary wrestler last summer, sent his love and prayers to the Hall-of-Famer’s family. The Associated Press offered an explanation of the name choice and their first meeting:

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 favorite wrestler of Mars’ father …

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.

Along with that, Madison Square Garden, the same building Sammartino sold out 187 times — or 188 times if you count his Hall of Fame induction at that building in 2013; and YOU SHOULD. Anyway, MSG is often presented as WWE’s unofficial home turf, so seeing the Garden display this tribute honoring him was awesome to see, especially as they refer to him as a “true Garden legend.”

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Long Live Bruno Sammartino…

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