In the era before VCRs and cable television, many promotions (from tiny local promotions to those covering entire regions of the country) had their own syndicated programs. Until the late 1970s/early 1980s, videotape (for those promotions that could afford it) was an expensive commodity, meaning that once a show aired it was reused for taping a future week's show. That, plus the perceived lack of future interest in classic wrestling programs (some stations destroyed the films once aired) probably means that, except for those who are lucky enough to have preserved videotapes/films of the programs, the weekly syndicated programs of many promotions — especially the smaller ones — are forever lost to history.
That said, World Wrestling Entertainment has hundreds of thousands of hours of videotapes and films of classic matches, including its classic syndicated and cable programs (at least from the early-1980s forward), plus programs and matches from now-defunct rivals including the NWA, WCW, ECW and the AWA.
Some larger independent promotions have syndicated shows that are only shown regionally, and may only be clip shows. Usually this isn't a big deal, but occasionally a really good match takes place, and with the exception of the live audience is never seen in full by anyone. (Usually, the matches are edited for time, placement of commercials and to remove "dull" moments.)
Arguably the best example of one of these is an ECW match between Yoshihiro Tajiri and Psicosis. For some background info - Psicosis was running out his WCW contract and planning to go to ECW, and the mutants were very high on the possible matches. Psicosis and Tajiri outperformed even the mutants' expectations and put on a near-5star match. But... it aired on ECW's syndicated show instead of ECW on TNN, and the whole thing to date hasn't been seen, though the match can be found on the Extreme Championship Wrestling: Deep Impact DVD.
Rey Mysterio Jr's WCW career from the point he was unmasked to the demise of the promotion will never be mentioned or marketed by WWE because of the fact that they want to keep his face a mystery.
Dragon Gate has a weekly television show, but they're only allotted one hour. So they record the show and then "clip" the matches (and occasionally omit some less important ones) to fit the TV show. The full matches are never seen by anyone aside from the live fans.
Several title changes of the WWF's major titles have never been recorded — or if they were, were never shown on television. Two prime examples came early in the history of the Intercontinental Championship:
Pedro Morales winning the title from arrogant weightlifting hero Ken Patera. The match took place December 8, 1980 — the night of the murder of John Lennon — at New York's Madison Square Garden. It is unclear whether that night's card was televised (as the venue's cards routinely were through 1992) on New York's MSG channel, but if it was the broadcast would have been pre-empted due to breaking news coverage of Lennon's death.
Tito Santana defeating the evil Magnificent Muraco on February 11, 1984, for the title. The most common explanation for the lost footage was that, in taping matches for later broadcast, there was no more videotape available to tape the Santana-Muraco match. Only brief clips from the match exist today and were later included as part of several video releases showcasing the title's history.
Over The Edge 1999 is one of the few PPVs to not have appeared on video or repeat. This is because Owen Hart died whilst he was making his entrance from the ceiling. The footage of Owen falling exists in the vaults but on the PPV itself it was replaced by a different camera facing the crowd. Owen's wife filed a lawsuit against WWE to ensure they would never release the footage, so it is unlikely we'll see it. Many fans nevertheless want to see it out of morbid curiosity. Photos from Owen being attended to in the ring do exist though.
The WWE Network, the company's new streaming on-demand service, features an edited version of Over The Edge. All references to Owen, his accident, and his death have been removed.
Most, if not all, matches involving Chris Benoit will likely never be re-aired or — with the exception of supercard releases such as ''WrestleMania — included in future video releases, due to the circumstances surrounding his death and the deaths of his wife and son.
Though a recent announcement indicates that footage of Benoit will be aired on WWE Network, albeit with disclaimers beforehand.
This troper watched ECW One Night Stand (2005) on the Network the other night. While the episode is rated TV-MA (it IS ECW, after all), the Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero match is shown in its entirety, with no apparent editing. Benoit is also featured at the end of the show delivering a flying headbutt to Eric Bischoff.
A number of WCW Nitro episodes were not aired by WWE's On Demand & 24/7 services, because of technical issues with the master tapes, or (in some cases) because of multiple appearances by Chris Benoit.