En route to Shalour City, our heroes happily watch three forest Pokémon help each other gather berries. Suddenly, an Ursaring grabs their berries and scares them out of their wits! Then, just as suddenly, a brave Hawlucha attacks the Ursaring, giving the forest Pokémon time to retrieve their berries. But Hawlucha can't resist striking an artistic pose right before its last move, and Ursaring escapes.
Forest caretaker Keaton explains that Hawlucha is the Forest Champion, protecting weaker forest Pokémon from the more aggressive ones. Ash is quite impressed with Hawlucha and offers to help it figure out how to strike more quickly without losing its "battle artistry." During a battle between Hawlucha and Froakie, Ash figures out how Hawlucha can incorporate its signature pose into its favorite finishing move. When that proves to be a huge success, Hawlucha decides to join Ash on his journey!
Walking through a forest, Ash and his friends spot a trio of Sentret, Pachirisu and Patrat working together to gather berries. Ash and the others, not wanting to disturb their work, continue on with their journey. After they leave, however, Patrat and the other two Pokémon encounter an Ursaring, who is trying to take their berries from them. The group hear their cries and rush to help, with Ash sending Pikachu in to attack.
Before Pikachu can intervene, a wild masked Hawlucha flies onto the scene with a dramatic entrance, taking pride of place atop a tree. Ash scans Hawlucha with his Pokédex, and watches in awe as Hawlucha removes its mask, revealing its true face. Hawlucha then dives into Ursaring, slamming it to the ground. Ursaring becomes enraged, but is easily defeated in battle by Hawlucha's Karate Chop and High Jump Kick. Ash and his friends comment on how amazing Hawlucha is. Hawlucha then jumps to the top of a nearby tree, and shows off its victory pose. Keaton soon arrives, and he explains to the group that Hawlucha does its pose before launching into its finishing move. And much the same, Hawlucha then begins to use its final move, Flying Press. However, Ursaring dodges it at the last minute, causing Hawlucha to crash into the ground. Ursaring then begins to approach Hawlucha, still dazed on the ground, with a large boulder. Ash blocks Ursaring's path and has Pikachu use Iron Tail to destroy the rock. The shattered boulder then hits Ursaring, causing Ursaring to collapse and run away. Ash helps Hawlucha get up, though Hawlucha quickly leaves. Ash, excited about Hawlucha, asks Keaton, who reveals himself to be the caretaker of the forest, to tell him more about Hawlucha.
At the Keaton's log cabin, the group share a hot drink and formally introduce themselves. Keaton tells the group that there had been many strong Fighting-type Pokémon in the forest when Hawlucha first arrived. Hawlucha had then defeated them one by one, earning its nickname "Forest Champion". Keaton then offers to show them the site where Hawlucha trains, and Ash and friends agree.
Keaton has brought Ash and the group to Hawlucha's training spot, and the group see Hawlucha practising its Flying Press near a waterfall. Ash introduces himself to Hawlucha and then asks Hawlucha to practice Flying Press on himself so that it can perfect the move. With a log in front, Ash helps Hawlucha perfect the move, ensuring that the move could not be dodged, without sacrificing Hawlucha's victory pose. However, as they train, the forest bullies – Ursaring returns now with a Conkeldurr, along with their leader, Machamp. Keaton reveals that Machamp had been the previous "Forest Champion", and had disappeared to train in the mountains after being defeated by Hawlucha. Determined to reclaim its former title, Machamp challenges Hawlucha to a fierce one-on-one battle. Hawlucha quickly retaliates with multiple Karate Chops. However, Machamp remains still, withstanding all of Hawlucha's hits. Keaton reveals that Machamp must be sizing up Hawlucha's resolve. As Hawlucha continues to attack, to both Hawlucha's and Machamp's surprise, Ursaring and Conkeldurr come forward to attack Hawlucha. The two bullies slam Hawlucha to the ground and continue to attack. Machamp in response attacks the two bullies and stops the unfair fight. Machamp, now carrying the two fainted Pokémon, walks off, agreeing with Hawlucha to battle at another time.
After Machamp has left, Ash offers Hawlucha a place on his team, and Hawlucha agrees. Ash then begins a battle against Hawlucha with Froakie. Froakie starts off with Water Pulse and Double Team, allowing it to avoid Hawlucha's High Jump Kick. After attacking with Bubble, Ash commands Froakie to jump up and grab Hawlucha. However, Froakie misses, and lands in the water instead. Ash then commands Froakie to use Double Team as it jumps out of the water, followed up with Cut. Hawlucha avoids the duplicates before it counters with High Jump Kick, and finishes off with its newly practiced Flying Press. Froakie counters with Cut just as Hawlucha slams into it, causing both to faint. Ash thanks Hawlucha for the great match and congratulates it on mastering Flying Press. As Hawlucha is about to join Ash's team, Machamp returns. Keaton tells Hawlucha that the forest will be fine even when it leaves. Hawlucha then agrees to join Ash's team and enters into Ash's Poké Ball. Keaton tells Ash to give Hawlucha plenty of battle experience before waving the group goodbye.