Dawn and Ash are hoping a friendly battle with Turtwig will help Dawn's new Buizel warm up to its new companions. But Buizel wants to play rough, and it won't even listen to Dawn's commands! Our heroes head to a Pokémon Center after the battle and that's where they meet Lucian, a Trainer who specializes in Psychic Pokémon. He's also one of Sinnoh's Elite Four, a top group of Trainers—and Buizel is itching to have a battle with him!
Lucian agrees to the match and sends out his Bronzong. Buizel ignores Dawn's commands again and continues to battle its own way, but Bronzong is just too tough. Buizel is soon knocked out of the match, but it's so used to winning that it has difficulty accepting this defeat. Later Lucian tells Dawn that this loss could be very important: if Buizel doesn't learn how to overcome this setback, who knows what might happen?
What happens, however, is that Team Rocket takes this opportunity to trap Buizel in a cage so they can steal it. Lucian thinks this is actually a good thing! Indeed, Buizel is so angry at being captured that it forgets about its defeat and breaks out of the cage. Then, Lucian shows Dawn how to adapt to Buizel's style so they can work together to beat Team Rocket. After the villains are defeated, Dawn and Buizel go one more round with Lucian and Bronzong, and they're already demonstrating improved teamwork! Before he leaves, Lucian encourages Dawn to keep training and says he'll see our heroes again someday.
Dawn calls out her newly caught Buizel to meet the other Pokémon. Buizel doesn't even smile or return the welcome, looking away. Piplup angrily extends his arm for a shake, but Buizel pushes him away, almost starting a fight. Dawn breaks them up, but the tension is still high as Brock points out that Buizel spent most of his life alone. When Ash offers to battle, Buizel immediately accepts.
Ash decides to pit Turtwig against Buizel, starting off with a Razor Leaf attack. Dawn commands Buizel to dodge and fire Water Gun, but Buizel instead launches straight into an Aqua Jet attack, hitting Turtwig. Turtwig shakes it off and races forward for a Bite attack. Buizel again disobeys Dawn's order to dodge, instead letting Turtwig bite his arm, leaving it vulnerable to multiple close-range SonicBoom attacks. Turtwig flies backwards, knocked out from the fierce attack. It appears that Dawn is unable to control her powerful Buizel as they decide to go to a nearby Pokémon Center. Dawn wants to put Buizel back in his Poké Ball, but Brock encourages her not to in order to try and bond with Buizel.
At the Center, Nurse Joy tends to Ash's Turtwig. Croagunk stops Brock's romantic advances against Nurse Joy and proceeds to drag him away, but Buizel's glare almost starts a fight. Dawn breaks that one up and Croagunk proceeds to drag Brock away. Nearby, a person reading a book takes note of Dawn scolding Buizel.
While they wait, Ash and his friends watch a televised battle between a Trainer and Elite Four member Lucian. As they watch Lucian's Girafarig knocks the opponent's Scizor against a boulder, Buizel watches with extreme awe. Girafarig dodges Scizor's Slash attacks before jumping up and letting Scizor's claw get stuck in a rock, jumping up top and firing Psybeam, knocking Scizor out. Ash and his friends are amazed when Lucian walks up right next to them, discussing the battle and meeting the group. Team Rocket watches through the window and plot to steal a Pokémon from the Elite Four member.
Ash and his friends sit down with Lucian, realizing that Trainers that win a Pokémon League Conference earn the right to enter the Champion League, where they will battle the Elite Four and the Pokémon League Champion. Lucian covers the Sinnoh Elite Four members and their preferred types, as well as the Champion Cynthia, before pointing out that Trainers must work through the Elite Four before rightfully challenging Cynthia. Excited, Buizel challenges Lucian to a battle, though Dawn tells him not to be so rude and apologizes to Lucian, telling him she just recently caught Buizel. Even though Ash is eager to battle Lucian, the Elite Four member puts Buizel first.
Outside, Buizel prepares to battle as Lucian sends out Bronzong to battle. Ash checks it with his Pokédex as Team Rocket watches nearby. Buizel goes first with Water Gun, disobeying Dawn's Aqua Jet request, but Bronzong's Iron Defense nullifies the attack. Dawn orders Aqua Jet again, but Buizel proceeds to fire SonicBoom, which Iron Defense also stops. Bronzong charges with Gyro Ball. Dawn orders Buizel to dodge, but he proceeds to meet the attack head on with Aqua Jet. Bronzong easily overpowers Buizel, knocking him down. Buizel gets up, amazing Lucian but decides to fire Flash Cannon, Bronzong rotating and charging power. Buizel tries to stop it with Water Gun, but it fails and the blast knocks Buizel against a tree before letting him fall to the ground. Buizel struggles to get up, but it falls to the ground knocked out. Lucian apologizes to Dawn for getting carried away, insisting that she go to Nurse Joy. As Lucian walks away, Ash and his friends are amazed at Lucian's skills and that none of Buizel's attacks caused damage. As they observe, Team Rocket plots to steal Bronzong, Meowth having a fantasy about Giovanni trying to figure out how to use Bronzong, but being totally baffled, so they decide not to catch it.
Back inside, Nurse Joy finishes treating Buizel. The Pokémon wakes up, physically okay but very depressed after losing for the first time, especially considering that when they first encountered him, Buizel was virtually unbeatable. Pikachu tries to comfort Buizel, but without success. Joy offers Buizel a bowl of soup, which gets Brock going again until Croagunk knocks him out cold. When Croagunk drags Brock away, Croagunk briefly stares at Buizel, but the lack of fighting spirit sends Croagunk away. Ash decides to try and cheer Buizel up as he and Pikachu offer Buizel a chance to swim, but Buizel is unresponsive. Lucian shows up and finds out about Buizel's mood swing, mentioning that Buizel is trying to emotionally deal with the first strike of defeat.
Suddenly, a steel cage envelops Buizel and takes him away as Team Rocket shows up in their balloon, reciting their motto. Ash and Dawn step up to save Buizel, but Lucian waves them off, mentioning that the situation will allow Buizel to redevelop his fighting spirit. Buizel snaps out of his depression and proceeds to thrash inside the cage, his anger overriding the pain of loss. Buizel jumps up and proceeds to fire SonicBoom at the cage. It appears to fail at first, but Buizel keeps firing. With Dawn's encouragement, the attacks intensify until the cage shatters. Buizel jumps down as Team Rocket touches down, preparing to battle with Dustox and Carnivine. Buizel prepares to battle as Lucian decides to command Buizel. Dustox launches into a Tackle while Carnivine rushes to Bite. Dawn would have Buizel dodge, but Lucian instead has Buizel knock both Pokémon back with Water Gun. Ash and his friends are amazed that Buizel is obeying Lucian. Dustox's Psybeam and Carnivine's Bullet Seed move in, but Buizel dodges and launches SonicBoom, knocking out Carnivine. Buizel then uses Aqua Jet to knock out Dustox. Lucian informs Dawn that Buizel has a unique battle style that Dawn needs to adapt to. Buizel fires Water Gun at Team Rocket to send them blasting off.
Dawn compliments Buizel as he marches up to Lucian, wanting to battle again. With Dawn's consent, Buizel once again duels against Bronzong. Bronzong launches Gyro Ball, but Buizel obeys Dawn's request to dodge before going into Aqua Jet. Iron Defense stops it, but the attack causes Bronzong to spin. Buizel fires Water Gun, but another Iron Defense stops it. Lucian then recalls Bronzong, ending the duel. Lucian points out that Dawn and Buizel worked together that time, knowing that it will continue to improve. As Lucian sets off, Ash looks forward to hopefully battling Lucian in the future, but shifts his focus closer, towards his upcoming second Badge.