Wheel of Frontier (Japanese: バトルアリーナ! 格闘対決！！Battle Arena! Fighting Showdown!!) is the 149th episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 423rd episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on October 27, 2005 and in the United States on September 16, 2006.
Ash is about to reach the Battle Arena, but Team Rocket has gotten there ahead of him! They're pretending to be students of Greta, the Arena Tycoon, but the curriculum is a little too tough for them. Will this trick really let them get their hands on Ash's Pikachu? Meanwhile, Ash runs into Scott, who tells him that Greta prefers Fighting-type Pokémon. This gives Ash an idea...
Scott and Ash show up at the Battle Arena, where Greta has Ash spin a wheel to determine how many Pokémon they'll battle with. Ash spins a two, so Greta's Hariyama and Medicham will face off against Ash's Grovyle and Snorlax, who Ash brought back just for this battle. Grovyle is fast, but Hariyama uses its speed against it and Grovyle is soon knocked out. Ash sends out Snorlax and uses a defensive strategy to defeat Hariyama, whose powerful punches aren't as damaging to the big Pokémon. Greta's Medicham could be a different story, though!
Team Rocket is accidentally revealed during the Pokémon battle, but Pikachu zaps them before they can do anything. Then it's right back to the battle, where Medicham's attacks are proving to be pretty dangerous to Snorlax. After some close calls, Ash hits on a novel idea: have Snorlax use Hyper Beam to propel itself into the air and land on Medicham! This wins Ash the battle—and a shiny new Frontier Symbol! Greta tells Ash that the next stop on the Battle Frontier is the Battle Dome, and he's soon on his way!
At the Battle Arena, dozens of students are being trained in martial arts moves by Greta. Team Rocket is amongst them as a part of Meowth’s latest scheme to nab Pikachu. The trio pause after becoming fatigued from doing so many arm thrusts. An assistant yells at them because they stopped moving. For the next exercise, the group has to crouch with bowls balanced on their heads and shoulders. However, the Rocket trio falls over and breaks their bowls, so Greta orders them to do further cleaning to make up the difference. One of the attendant informs Greta that they have a received a message from Scott regarding a new challenger. Greta is unfazed and certain she’ll easily crush her challenger.
Meanwhile, Scott reveals to Ash and his friends that Greta will likely battle with two of her Pokémon, Medicham and Hariyama. He points out that she is tough and her idols are fellow Fightingtype experts, Brawly and Chuck. The group exits the Pokémon Center, but Ash pauses for a moment and contemplates Greta's Pokémon. He orders everyone to go on ahead before running back into the Pokémon Center without any explanation.
Later, the group reaches the Battle Arena, and Ash yells "Hello." This doesn't work, so Scott goes up and shouts "We wish to have a battle". The giant doors open, and Greta and her students welcome their latest challenger with fighting enthusiasm. Suddenly, a giant roulette emerges from the ground that is meant to determine how many Pokémon will take part in the battle. Ash pulls the roulette lever, and the spinner lands on two. Greta declares that they’ll have a two-on-two match. A gong rings, and Ash and Greta prepare for their battle. The training group sits along the sidelines of the field, watching. Team Rocket pokes up behind them. Greta sends out Medicham and Hariyama, and Ash sends out Grovyle and Snorlax, who he retrieved from Professor Oak. May and Max are surprised to see that Ash has a Snorlax. Scott observes that Ash picked odd types of Pokémon to use against Fighting types.
Grovyle and Hariyama fight first. Grovyle approaches with a Quick Attack before launching into a Bullet Seed, though Hariyama blocks the barrage with Arm Thrust. Greta orders Hariyama to charge in for an Arm Thrust attack, but Grovyle jumps into the air and shoots another Bullet Seed. Hariyama dodges and grabs Grovyle's leg to throw it to the ground before shoving it backwards, making it land on its back. Ash tells Grovyle to use Quick Attack and Hariyama goes to dodge, and Grovyle uses Leaf Blade twice. The first time knocks Hariyama back, but then Hariyama responds with a Focus Punch that sends Grovyle flying back before it can attack. Grovyle hits the ceiling, falls to the ground, and faints. Brock remarks that even Grovyle's speed wasn't enough to defeat the strong Hariyama. While Scott adds that Greta used a classic Fighting expert technique, using an opponent’s speed to magnify their own physical power.
Ash’s supporters have their doubts as he calls Snorlax onto the field. Hariyama strikes its opponent repeatedly with Arm Thrust, though Snorlax Protects itself and is eventually pushed back to the end of the field, uninjured. Hariyama attacks again, but Snorlax dodges and hits Hariyama with a Headbutt, which pushes Hariyama back. Hariyama uses Focus Punch, but Snorlax uses Protect again; however, it fails, and Snorlax falls back on its stomach. Greta orders Hariyama to use another Focus Punch, but Snorlax jumps up to dodge, so Hariyama's fist hits the ground, injuring it. Ash tells Snorlax to use Ice Punch, which freezes Hariyama, defeating it.
Medicham jumps into play and shows off its prowess. Greta tells Medicham to use Focus Punch, and Snorlax Protects itself again, but it doesn't work so well and it falls back after the punch and a kick. Greta orders another Focus Punch, and Ash orders Hyper Beam. Snorlax misses its mark and Medicham strikes it from behind, hurling it into the crowd of trainees. As the onlookers flee, Team Rocket are struck causing their disguises to fall off. Now revealed, the trio decide to put their scheme into motion, launching into their motto. They jump to grab Ash's Pikachu, but he Thunderbolts them into the sky.
The match continues, and Ash tells Snorlax to use Ice Punch while Medicham is told to do the same thing. Snorlax is hit and freezes, making it immobile. Ash suddenly remembers a counter strategy and tells Snorlax to use Rest. It falls asleep, and Greta orders more Focus Punches to reach Snorlax through the ice. The ice breaks away, and just as Medicham is about to strike, Snorlax wakes up in time to dodge. As a result Medicham suffers recoil damage from its failed Hi Jump Kick. Ash orders a Hyper Beam, though Medicham dodges and strikes back with a Focus Punch. Another Hyper Beam is ordered, but Snorlax can't do it. Greta orders more Focus Punches, which hit Snorlax repeatedly. However, it charges its Hyper Beam, and just as Medicham is about to finish it off, Ash tells Snorlax to direct the Hyper Beam to the ground blasting it up near the ceiling. Snorlax plummets with a full power Body Slam which crushes and defeats Medicham. Ash hugs Snorlax as he is declared the winner of the match. Outside the Battle Arena, Greta awards Ash the Guts Symbol. Scott tells Ash that the next facility is the Battle Dome, south of Lavender Town.
Normally, Ash says the episode title. In this episode, Ash and his friends all say the title together. This is because they were trying to imitate the opening of the popular game show Wheel of Fortune, which includes the entire crowd saying it.
This is the first time in the anime that a Pokémon had to recharge after using Hyper Beam, like in the games.
This episode was originally believed to be titled "Wheel of... Fortune". This turned out to be incorrect, though the actual dub title remains a play on Wheel of Fortune.
Greta actually knows who Team Rocket are and what they do.
In respect to dojo tradition, no footwear is permitted in the Battle Arena. As a result, everyone is barefoot throughout the entire match, including Ash and Greta.
In the English dub, as Team Rocket blasts off, Meowth says, "Who's dumber, the dummy or the one who listened to the dummy?" This is possibly a reference to the 1977 film Star Wars, in which Ben Kenobi famously asks, "Who's the more foolish, the fool, or the fool who follows him?"