A Meteoric Rise to Excellence! (Japanese: フカマルとりゅうせいぐん！Fukamaru and Meteor Shower!) is the 156th episode of the Diamond & Pearl series, and the 622nd episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on December 17, 2009 and in the United States on May 8, 2010.
As our heroes continue toward Daybreak Town and Dawn's next Pokémon Contest, they lose their sense of direction in a large forest. Peering into the sky, all of a sudden they see what turns out to be a move called Draco Meteor. The move comes from an Altaria, a Pokémon under the tutelage of an elderly woman who calls herself Grandma Wilma. The team asks if they can watch Grandma Wilma's coaching session with Altaria. Then the whole group is approached by a feisty Gible, which Grandma Wilma says lives in the forest. Gible wants to be able to use Draco Meteor, too, but can't seem to pull it off!
Meanwhile, Altaria has caught the fancy of Team Rocket. They decide to steal it to add to their power. Once Altaria is caught, a frantic chase ensues, and at one point it appears that Team Rocket has outrun our heroes! But even while Gible struggles with Draco Meteor, it manages to unleash a powerful Dragon Pulse move, which helps the gang rescue Altaria from Team Rocket's grip.
Bidding goodbye to Grandma Wilma and Altaria, our heroes suddenly realize that Gible is nowhere to be seen. But as they take their leave, we see Gible emerge from a bush and watch them as they walk away...
While continuing the journey to Daybreak Town, Ash and his friends witness a display of Draco Meteor, an extremely powerful move only known by Dragon-type Pokémon. Soon the gang meet Wilma and a powerful Altaria, however it soon emerges that they have been followed by a Gible which is very eager to learn Draco Meteor. This Gible happens to have a gash in its dorsal fin, making this one male. Despite some head-biting antics, Ash takes the Land Shark Pokémon under his wing and offers to help him learn the move. Wilma first gives some history about the Gible and the use of the move Draco Meteor. Gible fails to execute the move properly and the meteor crashed down onto Piplup, who is unable to dodge the failed attack. Piplup expresses his displeasure to Gible, and Gible bites him on the head. Piplup jumps into Dawn's arms with Gible still attached, and Wilma simply rubs Gible's body, like a massage, and he lets go of the crying Piplup. Wilma comments on how much of a failure Gible's attempt was.
Then, out of the blue, Gible decides to bite Ash's head again and Brock comments how it's impossible to tell what Gible's thinking inside due to his unchanging expression. Suddenly, giant boulders begin falling from the sky and send the gang scattering, with Dawn asking, "Is this Draco Meteor?" Wilma responds passively with, "Nope, just plain ol' boulders." In the midst of the confusion, a bubble comes down and traps Altaria, which is followed by a claw that picks up the bubble. It is then revealed that Team Rocket had come to steal Altaria and had so far succeeded in their attempt. They introduce themselves to Wilma, and then fly off in their balloon while the fallen boulders erupt into colored smoke to seal the getaway after Pikachu's and Piplup's Thunderbolt and Bubble Beam fail to break the bubble trapping Altaria.
Ash and Dawn give pursuit, while Brock is forced to piggyback Wilma after Team Rocket. Gible, while not invited, follows by way of using Dig. Eventually, Brock gives out from exhaustion and leaves Dawn and Ash to continue the chase, and even they eventually lose the trail. Gible appears and Ash asks Gible to lead them to Team Rocket, since the Land Shark Pokémon knows his way around the forest well. Gible only ends up leading them to a berry bush, so Ash and Dawn continue on without him. Gible seems torn between his snack and his new friends, but the bush wins currently. Coming upon a huge cliff, Ash and Dawn are forced to climb it (to Dawn's horror, as she was already winded from the long sprint). Dawn falls after her handhold breaks off, but sends out her Mamoswine in time to catch herself and Piplup. Ash also falls, but catches sight of Gible's dorsal fin as he races up the cliff-side from under the surface with Dig. Ash manages to grab onto the fin, zooming to the top and both he and Pikachu are catapulted onto the air, landing rather ungracefully. Ash must now go on alone, and thanks Gible for his help. Gible must once again choose whether to continue along or not.
Ash's Staraptor, who had been sent out before reaching the cliff, happens upon Team Rocket's balloon and is captured by a net trap Meowth set up so that it can't follow them. Nearby, Team Rocket gloats at their success with evading the "twerps" and rolls off in their new Altaria robot which has Altaria trapped in the stomach area. The Humming Pokémon continues to use Ice Beam with little success until it decides to alternate with Flamethrower. The constant heating and freezing finally puts a big crack into the prison, and Altaria begins ramming the bubble side to side. This knocks the mecha off balance and they can't steer away from crashing straight into a giant boulder. Gible, who was somewhere underneath the robot at the time, hears the crash and digs up to find Team Rocket. Meanwhile, Ash finds Staraptor and begins to help it from its trap when Dawn, Brock, and Wilma also appear.
Back with Team Rocket, who continue to berate Altaria for trying to beat its way from the bubble, turn around to find Gible staring at them. Jessie tries to get him to go away by saying, "Hey, if you're bored, go watch TV!" Gible proceeds to bite down on her hair and James, Meowth, and Wobbuffet get into a tussle to help her, but Gible wins and forces them all to the ground. To Team Rocket's horror, Gible then quickly devours the entire mecha, leaving the bubble as the only part left. Jessie retaliates by using her Seviper, but Gible proves quick enough to evade and tries Draco Meteor again, but fails. Back at the balloon, our heroes have no clue of where to go... until they spot the failed Draco Meteor; it can only be Gible, and they take off in hot pursuit. A use of Dragon Pulse by Gible unnerves Team Rocket, and while he seems tired, Seviper goes in for the kill with Bite, but is stopped by a Thunderbolt. Ash, his friends, and Wilma appear with Pikachu and Piplup leading the group.
James adds Carnivine to the battle to even the odds and Pikachu and Piplup easily tangle Seviper and Carnivine up before Pikachu uses Iron Tail to free Altaria for good. Gible decides to help some more, and it uses Draco Meteor, which finally succeeds and sends Team Rocket blasting off. Everyone is awed by the performance of the first-stage Gible, and in celebration, it uses Draco Meteor again, only to have it crash solely into Piplup once more. Back in the forest, Wilma directs Ash and friends towards Daybreak Town, and Ash wonders where Gible had gone. They leave Wilma and Altaria and continue on, but Gible emerges from a nearby bush and sees them going. It appears that Gible is debating whether to follow them or stay in the forest.
This episode's English title was originally announced to be A Meteoric Experience!.
When Team Rocket is shown in their mecha, Jessie's earrings appear to be yellow, not their usual green.
During Team Rocket's struggle to get Gible to let go of Jessie's hair, there is a shot of Wobbuffet holding Gible with Jessie's hair not in its mouth, and Jessie (bottom right) with the end of her hair showing (including her legs), though the struggle goes on.