In light of the great ratings Elite XC got Saturday night, some have pointed out that the XFL did great at first too before failing. This convenient dismissal of the success of MMA on Network Television does not hold up.
Pro Elite did not do incredible numbers or anything, but the show's growth was spectacular. When the XFL debuted, it did a great number at first, but the ratings signs were immediately ominous. The debut game started losing viewers in the second quarter, indicating that people were completely unimpressed with what they saw. The opposite happened for the Pro Elite show, according to Dave Meltzer in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
The show opened with a 2.1 rating for the Brett Rogers v. Jon Murphy match, did a 2.4 for Baroni v. Villasenor and an increase of 280,000 viewers; increased to 3.0 for Carano v. Young by adding 1,020,000 viewers; 3.8 for Lawler v. Smith, adding 850,000 viewers; and 4.1 for Slice v. Thompson, adding 980,000 viewers. That kind of growth, where the last quarter doubled the audience of the first, is highly unusual on television.
As hokey and frustrating as I found the show, casual fans clearly liked what they saw enough to keep on watching. Elite XC isn't going to be on every few weeks, as long as they stick to doing it every few months and provide intriguing matches, they should keep doing well. It's not the XFL.