Ash and his friends have reached Oreburgh City, where Ash will try to earn his first Sinnoh Gym Badge. But Paul has beaten him to the Oreburgh Gym, and he'll battle Gym Leader Roark first—if Roark ever shows up! Roark is also a mining foreman who's busy excavating for buried fossils and coal ore. In fact, Ash and company locate him just as he's uncovered another fossil find. The fossils he discovers can be revived at the local museum, which has Team Rocket sensing another great opportunity to score some Pokémon for their Boss.
Roark returns to the Gym to battle Paul in a 3-on-3 battle. The Oreburgh Gym is a Rock-type Gym, so Paul has an Azumarill to counter Roark's Geodude. Even though Azumarill should have the advantage, Geodude quickly knocks it out, and Paul is not pleased! Paul's Elekid defeats Geodude, only to have trouble with Roark's deceptively fast Onix. Paul switches Elekid out for Chimchar and beats Onix, but now Roark brings out a Cranidos.
Paul lets Chimchar take some hits so it can power up using its Blaze ability, yet even that doesn't stop Cranidos. Finally it's all up to Elekid, and it emerges victorious after the tough battle. Paul has earned his badge—along with a whole heap of hard feelings from Ash! Ash doesn't like the way Paul treats his Pokémon, and he likes it even less when Paul wants to leave without seeing Ash battle! But will Ash's wounded pride backfire on him?
Ash, Dawn, and Brock arrive at Oreburgh City and reach the Oreburgh Gym. Before he can enter, however, Paul and an older man, Ian, walk out of the Gym. Ash asks if Paul has challenged the Gym Leader yet, but Paul tells him to mind his own business. Ian explains that the Gym Leader is unavailable. He also reveals that the Oreburgh Gym uses Rock Pokémon. Ash is surprised by this, and the comment catches Paul's attention. At this, Paul abruptly decides to go find a Pokémon Center, and as he walks away Ash wishes him luck. Paul smirks and continues walking.
After Ash receives a Badge case, Ian reveals that the Gym Leader, Roark, is working at the Oreburgh Mine, so the group leaves the Gym to find him. At the mine, Team Rocket are amongst the workers. Ash and his friends approach the trio, who they don’t recognize through their miner gear, asking for directions. Team Rocket turn their backs on the twerps to avoid being recognized. At this, several men push a mine cart carrying a hefty lump of rock, followed by Roark who asks for them to wait. Roark walks over to the mining cart, and begins to polish the large stone to reveal a Fossil. As the cart is taken away to the museum, Roark asks who Ash and his friends are. Ash replies that he's come to challenge him for a Gym Badge. Roark admits he forgot he was the Gym Leader, as he was so preoccupied with his latest discovery. Team Rocket, meanwhile, are more intrigued to hear that the fossil might be resurrected.
Roark returns to the Gym, and quickly resumes his Gym Leader duties as Paul returns for his match. Roark apologizes for the delay, he then invites Paul through to the arena. And upon hearing Dawn’s excitement to see a real Gym battle, he invites the group inside to watch. At the Gym battlefield, the field opens up to reveal a large rocky field, which impresses Dawn. Brock explains that Gym Leaders often have Gym fields that suit their Pokémon of choice and this sort of field is perfect for Roark's Rock-type Pokémon. The referee, Ian, explains that this battle will be a 3-on-3 battle, and at this Roark sends out his first Pokémon, Geodude.
Paul then sends out his first Pokémon, Azumarill - a Water-type, the perfect counter to a Rock Pokémon. Paul orders Azumarill to use Hydro Pump, but this is deflected perfectly by Geodude’s Hidden Power. Azumarill is sent flying, and Roark has Geodude strike it down with a Rollout attack. Azumarill smashes right into the ground, and is declared unable to battle by the referee. Dawn is shocked that a Water-type would lose to a Rock Pokémon, and Brock remarks that he thinks Roark was prepared for people to try to beat him with a Water type and so trained his Pokémon to be able to beat them.
Paul curses Azumarill for its weakness infuriating Ash, and calls out his next Pokémon, Elekid, which surprises Roark. Paul attacks first, and Elekid sends Geodude flying back with a Brick Break, knocking it out in a single hit. Roark then sends out his next Pokémon, Onix, which Dawn checks on her Pokédex. Paul tries to get Onix with Brick Break again, but Onix dodges easily. Onix swings its tail around and brings it down hard on Elekid's head, but Elekid manages to use Protect itself from the force at the last minute. Onix manages to smash through the Protect with a Double-Edge, and Elekid goes flying. Roark orders a Stealth Rock, embedding shards of rock into the battlefield – a move that comes into effect when Paul substitutes. Onix then Slams right into Elekid with its tail. It jumps back however, as Elekid's Static Ability is triggered and paralyzes Onix. The two Pokémon clash again, but Elekid doesn't appear to be able to go on so Paul recalls it back to its Poké Ball to recover.
Paul then sends out his next Pokémon, Chimchar, who is instantly attacked by the Stealth Rock. Chimchar is injured, but is able to continue. It Digs underground, which worries Roark as Chimchar could appear at any moment for a sneak attack. Chimchar appears right below Onix and damaging it much to Roark's surprise. The two continue to battle, but due to Onix's paralysis, Chimchar is able to attack again and again with Dig. Eventually Onix is knocked out and declared unable to battle.
Roark thanks Paul, saying it's been a good battle so far, before sending out his final Pokémon, Cranidos. Paul tells Chimchar to dive underground again, so Roark calls for Cranidos to focus and then use Headbutt. Cranidos follows through, striking Chimchar with its hard head. Paul again tells Chimchar to Dig, but by now Roark has caught onto Paul's plan and Cranidos lands a Zen Headbutt on its opponent. Roark tells his Pokémon to attack again, and Paul tries to get Chimchar to dodge with Dig. But, as Brock points out, Zen Headbutt has the side-effect of making a Pokémon Flinch and unable to attack or dodge. Cranidos repeats its attack over and over, battering Chimchar to almost being knocked out. However, at this moment, Chimchar begins to glow a fiery red, signaling the unlocking of its special Ability, Blaze. Roark realizes he has to finish this fast, and calls for another Zen Headbutt. Chimchar launches into a Flame Wheel, and lands a blow directly on Cranidos’s weak spot – its legs. Cranidos picks itself up just as Chimchar repeats the attack, before going underground for another Dig. Cranidos takes the opportunity to power up with Focus Energy, allowing it to move in time to evade Chimchar. Cranidos follows up with Headbutt, knocking Chimchar out of the match. Paul recalls Chimchar into the Poké Ball, angry with it for its defeat and promising to deal with it later.
Paul has one last chance however, and calls out Elekid who is again, attacked by the Stealth Rock laid down by Onix before. Roark tells Cranidos to use Flamethrower, which Elekid dodges before smashing its fist right into Cranidos' knee and causing it to reel back in pain, as well as managing to paralyze it thanks to its Static Ability. Cranidos shakes off the Static however, thanks to its own Ability, Mold Breaker. However, just as Cranidos is about to attack, its knee injury kicks in, allowing Elekid to land a Thunder Punch attack onto Cranidos' head. Cranidos then smacks Elekid square in the chest with a Flamethrower. It then launches into a Zen Headbutt and Elekid uses Brick Break. The two attacks collide for an explosive effect, leaving both sides worse for wear. However, Cranidos falls down first and is declared unable to battle by Ian. Roark congratulates Paul on the great battle, and presents him with a Coal Badge for his victory. Ash isn't about to let Paul get all the glory however, and vows to get his first Badge next.