The inevitable encounter between WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns and John Cena is currently planned for SummerSlam on Aug. 21, 2016 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
When Seth Rollins went down with a knee injury last November, WWE officials had planned for Reigns to defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Cena at WrestleMania 32 (according to Dave Meltzer in the January 11, 2015 issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter). The proposed match, however, was quickly nixed. It is believed that Cena was due to face The Undertaker, but shoulder surgery prevented him from wrestling at the event for the first time since 2003.
It would have certainly popped a lot of interest if the match took place. The franchise star versus the new franchise star, it would most likely have been a passing of the torch moment.
Similar to Hulk Hogan doing the job for Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 6 in 1990, WWE likely would have used the occasion for Cena to put Reigns over as the new company star.
The reason they decided against it at the time is unknown, but a feud is inevitable at some point. Cena’s eventual return could be built around it.
As for Reigns, he has became the franchise star by default. He’s riding a wave of momentum and will likely emerge even more fully with Cena sitting on the sidelines.