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Listening to Surge's taunts, Pikachu decides that he is ready to fight Raichu. Lt. Surge accepts Ash's challenge and the battle promptly begins. Both Pokémon begin with a {{m|Thunder Shock}} attack, but Raichu's is significantly stronger and does far more damage to Pikachu than Pikachu deals to Raichu. Brock realizes that Pikachu simply cannot stand up to Raichu's more powerful attacks and recommends that Ash withdraw Pikachu. However, when Ash tells Pikachu to return, he refuses and charges again at Raichu. The resulting trade-off between Pikachu and his adversary leaves Pikachu severely damaged by a {{m|Mega Punch}} and {{m|Mega Kick}} from Raichu. Meanwhile, outside, {{TRT}} is looking in, seeing Pikachu getting knocked around. They begin to worry that if Pikachu is getting beaten up like this, then maybe he is not worth stealing after all, and all their efforts have been in vain. {{MTR}} suggests that they could steal Raichu instead, but [[Jessie]] and [[James]] decide that they should root for Pikachu. However, Lt. Surge and Raichu have already won, with Raichu unleashing a powerful {{m|Thunderbolt}} that defeats Pikachu easily.
Later, at the Pokémon Center, Pikachu awakens, and Ash is relieved that he is all right. Pikachu, however, is upset to have been beaten so badly by Raichu. Nurse Joy enters the room, revealing that she has come across a {{evostone|Thunder Stone}}. With it, Ash could evolve his Pikachu into a Raichu as well. Brock warns him to think hard about this, because once he evolves Pikachu, there is no way to change him back. At this, Ash is extremely torn. He knows that if he evolves Pikachu into Raichu, he might be able to defeat Lt. Surge. However, he also realizes that if he were to evolve Pikachu just to battle, he would be no better than Lt. Surge. Finally, he decides to let Pikachu choose. Outside, Team Rocket watch intently to see what choice Pikachu will make. Pikachu stands up and whacks away the Thunder Stone with his tail. Pikachu then goes into a tirade, which moves even Meowth to tears. Meowth explains that Pikachu doesn't want to change; he wants to battle Lt. Surge again, but as a Pikachu; he wants to win in the name of all Pikachu everywhere. Ash agrees with Pikachu's decision and promises that they will win together. Brock suggests a strategy change, but Ash is convinced they can find a way. Pikachu says he will fight to defend both his honor and Ash's. While waiting for Pikachu to full recover Brock believes that there might be a way to defeat Lt. Surge and his Raichu when Lt. Surge mentioned how he evolved his Raichu the moment he caught it.
Later, Ash and the fully recovered Pikachu head back towards the Vermilion Gym. After receiving bizarre cheers from Team Rocket, they arrive at the Gym, ready for their rematch. Once again, it is to be Lt. Surge's Raichu against Ash's Pikachu. The battle begins, and Ash tells Pikachu to stick to their planned strategy. Lt. Surge uses the same strategy as last time, but Ash orders Pikachu to dodge Raichu's heavy attacks, causing Raichu to give itself [[recoil]] damage from moves like {{m|Body Slam}}. Ash then orders Pikachu to use {{m|Agility}}, and Pikachu accelerates to full speed. Repeated Body Slam attempts from Raichu all miss completely, as Pikachu is simply too fast. Brock then reveals the strategy: because Lt. Surge evolved his Pikachu into a Raichu too fast, it never had a chance to learn the speed attacks it can only learn in Pikachu form. Lt. Surge, growing aggravated, orders Raichu to fill the entire Gym with a vicious {{m|Thunderbolt}} attack. Raichu rips up the arena floor and even blows out all the windows around the arena. At first, Lt. Surge is convinced he has won, but the smoke clears, revealing the unharmed Pikachu standing on his tail.