Ash and his friends have reached Oreburgh City, where Ash will try to earn his first Sinnoh Gym Badge. But Paul has beaten him to the Oreburgh Gym, and he'll battle Gym Leader Roark first—if Roark ever shows up! Roark is also a mining foreman who's busy excavating for buried fossils and coal ore. In fact, Ash and company locate him just as he's uncovered another fossil find. The fossils he discovers can be revived at the local museum, which has Team Rocket sensing another great opportunity to score some Pokémon for their Boss.
Roark returns to the Gym to battle Paul in a 3-on-3 battle. The Oreburgh Gym is a Rock-type Gym, so Paul has an Azumarill to counter Roark's Geodude. Even though Azumarill should have the advantage, Geodude quickly knocks it out, and Paul is not pleased! Paul's Elekid defeats Geodude, only to have trouble with Roark's deceptively fast Onix. Paul switches Elekid out for Chimchar and beats Onix, but now Roark brings out a Cranidos.
Paul lets Chimchar take some hits so it can power up using its Blaze ability, yet even that doesn't stop Cranidos. Finally it's all up to Elekid, and it emerges victorious after the tough battle. Paul has earned his badge—along with a whole heap of hard feelings from Ash! Ash doesn't like the way Paul treats his Pokémon, and he likes it even less when Paul wants to leave without seeing Ash battle! But will Ash's wounded pride backfire on him?