Staging a Heroes' Welcome! (Japanese: みんなライバル！ミクリカップ！！Everyone's a Rival! Mikuri Cup!!) is the 77th episode of Diamond & Pearl series, and the 543rd episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on May 8, 2008 alongside DP078 as part of a one-hour special, and in the United States on September 20, 2008.
The day before the Wallace Cup, Zoey shows up at Lake Valor for the competition. She says hi to Dawn and meets May for the first time; while she's there, she also admits to Ash that Coordinators can still learn from regular Trainers, too. Not far away, Jessie is shocked to learn that she won the Solaceon Ribbon all by herself, without the use of any secret plans or cheats. Then it's on to the Wallace Cup and a dramatic entrance from Wallace himself—he'll even be one of the judges in the appeals performance round!
May and her Wartortle take the stage first and put on a great performance. In contrast, Jessie and Wobbuffet's appeals round performance doesn't actually seem to have much appeal for the judges. Then Zoey's new Finneon makes its dazzling Contest debut, which ratchets up the pressure on Dawn. It doesn't help Dawn's nerves when Ash and Buizel have a terrific performance, either; afraid of failing again, she's almost ready to quit before she starts.
Piplup responds to Dawn's anxiety with a well-timed attack that snaps Dawn back into reality. She tries to relax as she heads onstage with Ambipom, and indeed, Ambipom puts on a performance that showcases its best qualities without relying on too much flash. With the first round over, it's up to the judges to decide which Coordinators are moving on the second round. Jessie is in for a disappointment, but Dawn is relieved to know she'll be battling in the second round along with Ash, Zoey, and May!
The day of the Wallace Cup has arrived and everyone is getting excited. Brock starts flirting with a girl when Croagunkjabs him. May noticing Brock being taken away by Croagunk, makes a note he's taken over Max's job. Dawn is really nervous now about the competition. The scene turns to Ash who confirms having signed up for the Wallace Cup when Zoey appears. Then the rest of the gang show up and Dawn introduces May to Zoey. Meanwhile, Jessie, dressed as Jessilina, is also entering, still thinking that James and Meowth helped her win the Solaceon TownPokémon Contest. James quickly denies having helped her with the Contest, leaving Jessie shocked she won the Solaceon Ribbon all by herself.
The Performance Stage begins and May is the first participant to be called on stage. She sends out her Wartortle during , showing that her Squirtle has evolved. The scene briefly changes to Max, Norman, and Caroline watching May on television back in Petalburg City and to Drew, Solidad, and Harley also following May on TV from Ecruteak City. The scene reverts to May who orders Wartortle to use Rapid Spin on the water field and to finish up with Aqua Tail. The Contest continues with performances from other Coordinators and with Jessilina's turn. She uses Wobbuffet, failing to impress the judges. Zoey's turn comes up revealing she obtained a Finneon who does a fantastic performance making Dawn even more nervous.
Ash's act with Buizel is amazing and is praised by the judges, however Paul catches the appeal on TV and is unimpressed to see Ash has entered a Pokémon Contest. By now, Dawn is extremely nervous that she is not going to make it, but Piplup snaps her out of it and she heads for the stage. She may have didn't send out Ambipom on her first try, but the act was stunning, soaking James and Meowth in the progress and she is congratulated by the judges.
Next, she returns to her friends and the results are announced, which make Dawn relieved now because everyone except Jessilina made it to the Battle Stage. And now, this is where the real action begins!
Both May and Dawn had most of their rivals appear in this episode, either in cameos or throughout the course of the episode: Drew, Harley, and Solidad for May; and Zoey and Kenny for Dawn. It should be noted that Ash's rival Paul also had a brief appearance. Nando was the only one of Dawn's or Ash's main rivals not to appear.
Team Rocket does not blast off or recite their motto in this episode, though Jessie is briefly launched into the sky as part of her act.
This episode marks Ash's second and final participation in an official Pokémon Contest.
This is also the debut of Ash's Contest Costume.
When Croagunk drags Brock away from the woman selling crepes, May's gloves disappear.
When Meowth and James show their displeasure at Jessie's performance, there is a sound indicating a Pokémon coming out of its Poké Ball, despite Mime Jr. already being outside its Ball.
When Jessie claims that James and Meowth helped her during the Solaceon Town Contest in the English dub, James says, "We didn't do a bloody thing!". On some prints, the line is dubbed to "We didn't do a single thing!" since "bloody" is classified as a vulgar word in some English-speaking countries.