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22:41, 8 August 2007
= Synopsis =
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[[Ash Ketchum|Ash]], [[Misty]] and [[Brock]] are on their way to [[Vermilion City]]. Misty wants to see the luxury cruise ship docked there, and Ash plans to win his third [[badge]].
Ash's [[Ash's Pidgeot|Pidgeotto]] defeats a [[Rattata (Pokémon)|Rattata]], making Ash's 10th victory. The [[Pokémon trainer|trainer]] admires Ash's two badges, leading Misty to muse that giving Ash the badges may have been a mistake. The trainer points Ash to [[A.J.]]'s unofficial gym, where he trains "savage Pokémon." A.J. has "never lost a single match," a challenge Ash cannot resist. Misty says, "He's getting a big head." Brock replies, "Yeah, but his brain's still the same size!" [[Ash's Pikachu|Pikachu]] says, "Pika pika," while nodding his agreement.
The sign outside A.J.'s gym indicates that he has a record of 98:0, but his gym is not licensed by the [[Pokémon League]]. As Misty twits Ash over his swelled head, A.J. walks up and challenges Ash to battle. A.J. snaps a whip, making Ash jump. He says he plans to start competing for badges after his 100th win. Ash smugly says, "I have 10 wins, and I have two Pokémon badges," at which his nose begins to grow, ''a la [[wp:Pinocchio|Pinocchio]]''. A.J. insults the gyms, calling them "Failure City" and "Wimpsville," angering Misty and Brock.
A.J. summons his [[Sandshrew (Pokémon)|Sandshrew]]. Misty reminds Ash that Pikachu's electricity is useless against a [[ground (type)|ground]] Pokémon, but Ash nastily rejects her advice. He summons Pidgeotto. Brock notes that a [[flying (type)|flying]] Pokémon should have the advantage. However, Sandshrew rolls itself into a ball like an armadillo and hurls itself into the air, striking and eliminating Pidgeotto.
Ash calls out [[Ash's Butterfree|Butterfree]]. Ash orders a [[Stun Spore (move)|Stun Spore]] attack, but A.J. snaps his whip and Sandshrew [[dig (move)|dig]]s underground, avoiding it. It bursts out of the ground, eliminating Butterfree.
Ash wants Pikachu to fight, but the Pokémon grabs hold of the edge of the playing field and refuses to go. Pikachu [[ThunderShock (move)|ThunderShock]]s Ash to make him let go.
Team Rocket are spying on the match from a tree nearby. They decide they want to steal A.J.'s Sandshrew, then spend a moment critiquing his wardrobe. [[James]] clobbers [[Meowth (Team Rocket)|Meowth]] when the Pokémon criticizes '''his''' style.
Ash accuses A.J. of cheating, as he '''obviously''' would have won in a fair fight. He demands that they rematch at another location, but A.J. tells him to quit whining.
Ash overhears A.J. training his Pokémon, yelling angrily and cracking his whip. Ash intervenes to stop A.J. from hurting the Pokémon, but A.J. tells him to mind his own business. His Sandshrew is wearing a "strength intensifier" invented by A.J. himself. It enables the Sandshrew to withstand the weakening effects of the water. A.J. says he's tougher on Sandshrew than his other Pokémon because it was his very first.
Ash asserts that a great Pokémon trainer should make friends with his Pokémon. He asks Brock's input, who only wants to know what kind of [[Pokémon food|food]] A.J. is using. A.J., like Brock, mixes his own food to a secret recipe. Pikachu attempts to pick up one of Sandshrew's dumbbells, but falls backward under the weight, as Sandshrew does rapid alternating curls.
Team Rocket is crouched behind A.J.'s tent, checking the equipment for their latest plan to catch Pikachu. They argue over rewriting their motto.
A.J.'s Pokémon are all exhausted. A.J. insults Pikachu, and Ash takes a swing at him, dumping them both into the pool. Pikachu tries on the strength intensifier, but it fits badly and pulls him into a ball.
Team Rocket rolls into the tent inside a rubber ball, but they grab Sandshrew by mistake. A.J. ends the rest break and realizes that Sandshrew is missing. He releases Pikachu from the harness, but Pikachu doesn't know where Sandshrew is, either. Ash suggests he ran away, because he saw how much better Ash treats Pikachu. A.J. flips out, insisting Sandshrew would not have run away after all they'd been through together. He sends his other Pokémon (three Rattata, a [[Butterfree (Pokémon)|Butterfree]] and a [[Beedrill (Pokémon)|Beedrill]]) to look for Sandshrew.
James and [[Jessie]] argue over who has to carry the bag, when Sandshrew bursts out, surprising them. Meowth grabs Sandshrew's tail in his teeth as he starts to dig.
Ash is trying to convince A.J.'s Pokémon to leave with him, but they ignore him. Suddenly, Sandshrew bursts from the ground with a dazed Meowth still biting his tail. Watching A.J. and his Pokémon, Brock points out how deeply A.J. cares for them; this explains their loyalty to him despite his tough training methods.
Ash wakes Meowth and gets a claw swiped across his face. Meowth realizes he's facing a lot of angry Pokémon and their trainers. He's trying to figure a way out of the situation when James and Jessie begin their standard litany. Jessie tells A.J. that taking his Sandshrew was a mistake; James calls it "second-rate," earning A.J's ire. He challenges them to a battle. As usual, Jessie summons her [[Jessie's Arbok|Ekans]] and James uses his [[James's Weezing|Koffing]]. Sandshrew takes them both out, then takes out Meowth when the cat tries to bite his armored skin. Team Rocket's three Pokémon concede when Sandshrew digs until the ground splits.
This being A.J.'s 100th win, they now leave to begin earning badges. He too, like Ash, wants to be "the world's greatest [[Pokémon Master]]." They part as rivals, agreeing to meet in the future at one of the League competitions.
= Major events =
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