Do you know if WWE owns the rights to the footage of the WWF "invasion" of the USWA in the early-90’s? I know that they don’t most of the USWA footage (if any), but it seems like they might have access to that since the WWF invaders were using their WWF names and trademarks in the territory. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of that stuff, but it would really be an interesting thing for the network because it was completely different than anything the WWF had normally been doing up to that point. In a way, it was really ahead of its time for the WWF, especially with the early glimpses of the Mr. McMahon character and Bret Hart as a heel in Memphis while he was the company’s biggest babyface everywhere else.
No, anything from that era resides in such a murky minefield of rights issues that they just don’t want to bother with it. I suppose that they could make the claim as you noted, but then what if they put that stuff on DVD or the Network and then it turns out it’s a Bret Hart situation where someone else owns the footage and can prove it? Better to just leave it alone.
But yes, speaking as a former tape trader, I’ve seen all that stuff and it’s GREAT. Vince McMahon with that belt is hella creepy.