As our heroes continue their journey to Lilypad Town and Dawn's next Pokémon Contest, a stopover in Greenstation Town reveals a competition called the "Sinnoh Pokémon Hustle," where trainers and their Pokémon compete on various challenging stages, and it's just about to start! Of course our heroes want to participate, but on this day the event is secretly being masterminded by none other than Team Rocket, who have two goals in mind: steal as many Pokémon as possible, and recruit a new Team Rocket member! But the last thing Team Rocket wants is for Ash and friends to get involved... but Ash and Dawn keep winning and moving on, stage after stage! Meanwhile, Team Rocket has their eyes on three gifted competitors in particular. What they don't know is that two of them are actually Pokémon thieves themselves, while the third is actually Officer Jenny in disguise and on the thieving duo's trail!
Team Rocket thinks they've stolen all the competitors' Pokémon, but they wind up empty-handed. It turns out that the mysterious duo has stolen the Pokémon that Team Rocket thought they had! But when the duo refuses to join up with Jessie, James and Meowth, a huge battle ensues. But with the help of Officer Jenny, the duo is arrested, the Poké Balls are all safely returned, and Team Rocket is sent blasting off once again.
Ash and his friends are heading towards Lilypad Town, the site of Dawn's next Pokémon Contest, when she sees a poster announcing that her favorite show, Sinnoh Pokémon Hustle, is holding auditions in Greenstation Town, the group's current location. She, Ash and Brock decide to check the obstacle course out, however, unknown to them, this event is actually Team Rocket setting up a test for future Team Rocket members. As they go to sign up, they see that Rhonda and the Sinnoh Now crew have come to cover the event. Rhonda says that she is surprised that there is a Pokémon Hustle event going on as she had no notification of it.
Team Rocket is happy with how many people are signing up until they see Ash and his friends. They make a plan to sabotage them in their events. Among the contestants are the rather mysterious duo, Crimson and Azure, while a disguised Officer Jenny is keeping track of them. Team Rocket announces to the participants that they are to put their Poké Balls in cubbyholes, and they will be transferred to the refreshment room for safe keeping. Little do they know that it is actually a funnel, putting all their Poké Balls in a bag.
The first event requires the Trainer to cross over two logs, one of which spins. The first person to try is a Trainer with his Oddish, who promptly falls in. Next is Ash and Pikachu who make it across despite Team Rocket's interference. Then Dawn and Piplup manage to cross as well. Brock tries next but he and Happiny fall in, so does a Trainer and her Teddiursa. Azure and Crimson’s leap-over performance impressed the Rocket trio, as does a lady and her Growlithe who successfully cross.
The second stage of the competition is revealed to be a challenge where the Trainer swings across the water from one platform to another trying not to fall off when they hit a big, spinning yellow tube. Ash tries first and just barely manages to cross, encountering trouble at the spinning tube. Dawn also manages to make it across along with Azure, Crimson and the lady with the Growlithe. During the break, Team Rocket head over to check on the Poké Balls only to find that they are gone. Ash finds them and accuses them of taking the Pokémon. All the Trainers begin to crowd around and Team Rocket take off their disguises and perform their motto. When the Trainers ask for their Pokémon back, the Rocket trio reply that they do not know where they are. Suddenly the lady from earlier rips off her disguise revealing that she is Officer Jenny. She points towards Azure and Crimson and says that they have stolen the Pokémon. Brock begins to flirt with her, though Pikachu and Piplup drag him away.
Team Rocket decides to help Azure and Crimson escape from the crowd, leading them up a tall ramp that has huge balls balanced at the top. The crowd of Trainers begins to follow them up the ramp. James pushes the balls off which takes out many of the Trainers except for Officer Jenny - who is shown jumping them - and Ash, Dawn, and Brock, who hang on the side. Team Rocket then their recruit hopefuls down a zipline. As Jenny and Ash’s group follow, they cut the zip line, causing the others to fall. Team Rocket then praises Azure and Crimson, however the pair are not the least impressed and say that they are a two person team. Infuriated, Jessie tries to call out Yanmega, but James reminds her that the hijackers have all the Pokémon. Meowth steps up, threatening them with Fury Swipes. Crimson and Azure then send out their Zangoose and Drowzee respectively, and send Team Rocket flying backwards.
Officer Jenny sends out Growlithe who uses Flame Wheel on Drowzee, getting everybody's Poké Balls back. Ash then sends out Buizel who uses Water Gun on Drowzee and Zangoose. Jessie sends out Yanmega, but Team Rocket are sent blasting off by Drowzee's Shadow Ball. Growlithe then defeats Drowzee with Hidden Power and Pikachu defeats Zangoose with Iron Tail. Jenny promptly arrests both Azure and Crimson, and salutes the group for the help. Brock then again flirts with Officer Jenny, but is taken off by Croagunk. Jenny then leaves with Azure and Crimson in the back of her van. Rhonda meanwhile is thrilled to have an exclusive scoop. After saying goodbyes Ash, Dawn, and Brock continue yet again on their way to Lilypad Town.