SAN JOSE — Call her #SpiritBreaker. Ronda Rousey took Nia Jax’s best face-breaking punch and came back swinging, upending The Irresistible Force to retain the Raw Women’s Championship against a Superstar whose return to the mountaintop was beginning to look more and more likely over the past few weeks.

Nia Jax uses raw power to counter Ronda Rousey's fast-paced offense: WWE TLC 2018 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Nia Jax looks to find a way to dethrone Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey: Courtesy of WWE Network.

Indeed, Jax and Rousey had been on opposite tracks of late, with Rousey suffering a humiliation (if not defeat) at the hands of Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series, while Jax rode the momentum of the punch that broke Becky Lynch’s face and the addition of Tamina to become one of the most dangerous Superstars on Raw. Jax proved she was more than just a punch in their title match as well, cleverly countering Rousey’s Armbar and crushing her shoulder against the ring post in an attempt to weaken the champion’s ability to ply her signature hold.

In response, Rousey dug deep, exploiting the full range of her athleticism and speed and even breaking out a new maneuver or two — that step-up Superman Punch! — to keep Jax in check. Sensing danger, Tamina threatened to interfere, and Jax prepared to unleash the #Facebreaker … but Rousey was ready. The champion caught Jax’s arm, wrenched her down to the mat and stared Tamina dead in the face as she kissed the fist and locked in the Armbar for the tapout win. (Adding insult to injury, Becky Lynch decked Jax backstage after the match as part of her night-long “debt” collection).

Make no mistake: Rousey was in a fight tonight. And the last few weeks have shown she’s mortal. But from bell-to-bell, she remains an unsolvable puzzle. And it’ll take more than one punch to take that title from her. In short? She bends. She doesn’t break.

SAN JOSE — Call her #SpiritBreaker. Ronda Rousey took Nia Jax’s best face-breaking punch and came back swinging, upending The Irresistible Force to retain the Raw Women’s Championship against a Superstar whose return to the mountaintop was beginning to look more and more likely over the past few weeks.

Nia Jax uses raw power to counter Ronda Rousey's fast-paced offense: WWE TLC 2018 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Nia Jax looks to find a way to dethrone Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey: Courtesy of WWE Network.

Indeed, Jax and Rousey had been on opposite tracks of late, with Rousey suffering a humiliation (if not defeat) at the hands of Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series, while Jax rode the momentum of the punch that broke Becky Lynch’s face and the addition of Tamina to become one of the most dangerous Superstars on Raw. Jax proved she was more than just a punch in their title match as well, cleverly countering Rousey’s Armbar and crushing her shoulder against the ring post in an attempt to weaken the champion’s ability to ply her signature hold.

In response, Rousey dug deep, exploiting the full range of her athleticism and speed and even breaking out a new maneuver or two — that step-up Superman Punch! — to keep Jax in check. Sensing danger, Tamina threatened to interfere, and Jax prepared to unleash the #Facebreaker … but Rousey was ready. The champion caught Jax’s arm, wrenched her down to the mat and stared Tamina dead in the face as she kissed the fist and locked in the Armbar for the tapout win. (Adding insult to injury, Becky Lynch decked Jax backstage after the match as part of her night-long “debt” collection).

Make no mistake: Rousey was in a fight tonight. And the last few weeks have shown she’s mortal. But from bell-to-bell, she remains an unsolvable puzzle. And it’ll take more than one punch to take that title from her. In short? She bends. She doesn’t break.