Not every Pokemon battle of Ash Ketchum's has been a glorious display of training.
In fact, there are more lackluster battles in the Pokemon anime than there are incredible displays of aptitude. It can't be all or nothing Pokemon League spectacles.
Some of Ash's battles were hyped up to be the biggest fight of his journey. Instead, they ended up finishing as flat as could be without the payoff everyone expected.
Five most disappointing battles from the Pokemon anime
#5 - Ash vs Elesa
Ash studied and prepared for the Nimbasa Gym battle the entire night prior. All of that prep saw his strategy to be rather strange. The Pokemon he used was Palpitoad. That was it.
He thought he would sweep the other team with it. Ash then had to leave to get more Pokemon. Eventually, Pikachu got frustrated enough that it sent itself into battle, and Ash eventually won. All of that for a goofy ending like this.
#4 - Ash vs Trip
Ash and Trip had a long-lasting rivalry. Many fans believed it would end with the Pokemon battle of all Pokemon battles. Instead of a full face-off, it was a one on one encounter with Pikachu taking on Serperior.
Serperior was dominant, only for Pikachu to suddenly turn the tide of battle. Serperior was made out to be a very dangerous threat, but Pikachu took it out with ease near the end. This was not the rivalry ender many expected or deserved.
#3 - Ash vs Ritchie
This battle would see the winner move on to the Kanto League Quarterfinals. Ash was set to take on Ritchie. Being kidnapped by Team Rocket, Ash showed up extremely late to the battle. This also caused his Pokemon to be tired out before the battle even began.
Charizard was Ash's only hope and cost him the match by being lazy. There was no incredible showing by Ash after what he had gone through. Eighty episodes of Pokemon, and this is how the protagonist was still treated. Astonishing.
#2 - Ash vs Brock (First Battle)
Ash taking on Brock in his first Gym battle was the moment early Pokemon fans were waiting for. This was the time for Ash to step up and prove he had what it takes to be the very best like no one ever was.
Onix got a hold of Pikachu and just about squeezed the life out of him. It wasn't soon after that Ash forfeited to save his new friend. The first Gym battle went drastically different than many expected.
#1 - Ash vs Brock (Second Battle)
Even more anti-climactic is the second battle between Ash and Brock. It was a time where Ash could reflect on the first encounter. He could make a game plan. He could train his first Pokemon in his possession to overcome the challenge of a Gym leader.
Instead, the hero battled shoddily again, still a novice. The sprinkler system went off and Onix, weak to water, was doomed. That is how Ash won his first badge.
Note: This list is subjective and reflects only the writer's opinions.