Pokémon Journeys Redeemed Ash's Strongest Rival With A Great Battle
Pokemon fandom claims Sinnoh rival Paul pushed Ash most. Ash defeated Paul with a Pokémon Paul decided was too weak in a Pokémon philosophy battle. Years passed before fans realized Paul's world was ruined.
Paul appears unexpectedly in "Friends, Rivals, Lend Me Your Spirit!" before Ash enters the Masters' Eight tournament in Pokémon Journeys.
Ash can't help but challenge his old enemy to a fight, and Paul offers to face him using Pokémon used by Ash's Masters' Eight opponents.
The battle begins with Ash's Lucario vs Paul's Gyarados. Ash wins using Lucario's new Bullet Punch attack despite typing disadvantage.
The next battle sees Paul defeat Ash's Dragonite. Ash's Gengar and Paul's Metagross are poor in their last matchup. Gengar's new Will-o'-Wisp weakens Metagross, allowing Ash to win.
Paul leaves, appearing happy despite losing. Paul seems to have always wanted to help Ash by employing Pokémon and methods his Masters' Eight opponents would utilize.
Ash fought Steven's Metagross and Cynthia's Garchomp, and practicing with Paul here gave him an edge. This is a huge difference from Sinnoh's Paul, who wanted to win at all costs.
Paul's character arc ended when Ash left Sinnoh, but this episode showed how Ash's contacts with him helped him evolve, possibly more than any other adversary save Gary.