At Team Rocket's Johto base, the Team Rocket Elite Trio are being punished for their failures by Carl and Sham. The Masked Man emerges from a circular opening on the ground, along with his Delibird. As Carl and Sham appraise their leader as usual, the Elite Trio see their new boss for the very first time. The Masked Man freezes Al up to his neck, then turns to leave as Carl and Sham follow him towards a balcony where the rest of Team Rocket await. Carl announces that the public will be ready to witness Team Rocket's resurrection by hijacking the event taking place at the Indigo Plateau the next day. The Team Rocket members down below rejoice. The Masked Man then prepares to leave, stating that it is the right time to revisit a certain place.
The next morning, CamperEvan and Super Nerd Miles are among the Trainers registering their names for the tournament proper at the Indigo Plateau. They have a practice battle between each other before doing so. After the registration, Miles notices the long queue of Trainers waiting for registration and thinks they will have many qualifying rounds. He also remembers the new rule that permits direct entry into the tournament for those who collected all eight Kanto or all eight Johto badges. The two eventually find their seats among the audience as the opening ceremony of the tournament begins, with the Pokémon Association Chairman greeting the audience.
Mary, the former singer and current radio show host, announces from the announcer's box that 20,000 applications were received for the tournament, and 700 of them have succeeded in entering the preliminary qualifying round. Mary also mentions that all of the league's past winners were from Pallet Town in Kanto. The Chairman then announces the current Pokémon LeagueChampion - after the spotlight shines on an empty spot, the Chairman only then receives word that Red isn't at the stadium, so he plays clips of the match between Red and Blue on the big screen, much to the audience's dissatisfaction. Afterwards, the Chairman announces the exhibition matches of the Kanto and Johto Gym Leaders.
Meanwhile, the Masked Man arrives at the Tin Tower on his Delibird. The statue inside the tower glows, and Delibird brings its Trainer to an altitude above the clouds to face Ho-Oh, the legendary bird that hasn't been under the Masked Man's control for nine years.