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Special
Former UGA star Bill Goldberg is scheduled to take on former Georgia Tech player Roman Reigns at this year's WrestleMania.

‘Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate’ rivalry takes center stage on Friday Night Smackdown

Brandon Adams

It will be at least a little while before Georgia fans get a chance to watch any Bulldogs team during a game or practice, but there was at least an interesting mention of UGA on a rather odd edition of Friday Night Smackdown on Fox this week.

One of the most anticipated matches for this year’s WrestleMania features Roman Reigns taking on the Universal champion Bill Goldberg. In addition to being WWE competitiors, Reigns and Goldberg were both college football players as well. Many UGA fans know Goldberg was a two-time All-SEC defensive lineman for Vince Dooley’s Bulldogs in the late 80s, and some might be aware that Reigns (real name: Joe Anoa’i) was at Georgia Tech from 2003-06.

Reigns made an appearance on Smackdown Friday to talk some trash to his future opponent.

Reigns was asked about a previous comment from Goldberg about wanting to run him over like a bulldozer, and Reigns’ retort was pretty much what you’d expect to hear on a pro-wrestling show.

“Goldberg went to Georgia, so I don’t know if he’s even smart enough to operate a bulldozer,” Reigns said.

Reigns’ interview was part of a weird night for a show that traditionally ranks as among the most-watched shows on Friday night. The WWE isn’t immune to the concerns that have cancelled other sporting events in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The show aired from the WWE Performance Center, a training facility in Orlando, Fla. There were no fans in attendance — which led to an unusual atmosphere that was undoubtedly noticed by many viewers.

The trolling reference to UGA and Goldberg — who was enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018 — was probably also noticed by plenty of fans as well, and certainly a few of those Bulldogs fans would gladly remind Reigns that the Yellow Jackets were winless against UGA during his time with the program.