Ash, Pikachu, Ambipom, Barry, and his Empoleon are exercising and practicing for the upcoming Pokémon Ping Pong Tournament while Brock, Dawn, and Piplup watch. Kenny comes up to them and tells Dawn that she should be focusing on the Sandalstraw Contest for her fifth Ribbon. She tells him that she was just putting the finishing touches on their moves and says that she's entering Ambipom for both rounds which surprises Kenny. Dawn explains to Kenny that she's trying earn her victory with Ambipom for Ash, as if he hadn't traded his Aipom to her then she wouldn't have such a well-trained Pokémon competing for her. Jessie (or rather Jesselina) is also participating in the Contest for her third Ribbon, and has decided to take a cue from Ursula and the way she used her Pokémon's ability to store energy during the Chocovine Contest. James agrees to let her use his Mime Jr. for the appeals.
Dawn starts some last-minute practice with Kenny while Ash and Pikachu practice Pokémon Ping Pong with Barry and Empoleon. Mamoswine shows some interest, despite trying to hide it from Dawn. After the practice begins an Ice Shard is launched at them which Ambipom smashes with Double Hit. Dawn asks Mamoswine if it was responsible for that Ice Shard asks if Mamoswine wants to compete in the Contest too, but Mamoswine attempts to go back to sleep. Dawn and Ambipom get back to practicing and Mamoswine sends another Ice Shard their way. Dawn says she's sure Mamoswine wants to compete but Mamoswine still refuses to show real interest which makes Piplup angry. Dawn isn't fazed, positive that someday Mamoswine will compete in a Pokémon Contest. Brock thinks that Mamoswine wants some attention and reminds Ash of how Ambipom used to act while she was still an Aipom. Ash has very fond memories of the times they shared and wished Ambipom the best of luck in the Contest.
The Sandalstraw Contest is soon underway and Marian introduces the Coordinators while Ash, Brock, Barry, Pikachu, Piplup, Buneary, Pachirisu, and Mamoswine watch and cheer Dawn on. Barry says that he's never been to a real Contest before as Marian introduces Mr. Contesta, Mr. Sukizo, and Sandalstraw's Nurse Joy.
Jessie disguised as Jessilina is the first entrant and calls Mime Jr for the appeal. James, Meowth, and Wobbuffet cheer her on from the top of the stands in disguises. Jessie tells Mime Jr. to use Teeter Dance, and Mime Jr. sits on the floor in seemingly meditation which confuses the judges, audience and Ash and his friends. However Mime Jr. soon unleashes its stored energy and uses Teeter Dance while on its head. Everyone in the stadium (Ash, his friends, the Pokémon, the audience, Marian and even the judges) is affected by the Teeter Dance and begin dancing. Dawn and Kenny, who aren't affected by Teeter Dance as they're watching from the waiting area backstage, comment on Jessilina's change of style. The judges love Mime Jr.'s presentation and it appears Jessilina is going to move on to the battle rounds.
Soon it's Kenny's turn, and he calls out his Machoke and tells it to use Focus Energy. This helps Machoke to show off its muscles. An enormous dumbbell weighing three times Machoke's body weight is lowered onto the stage. Machoke uses Strength to lift it with one arm and switches to the other. Barry watched the appeal amazed and decides that he wants to eventually catch a Machoke. Brock comments on how Contest moves are usually graceful and beautiful so it was a smart move for Kenny to show off how strong Machoke is. Dawn admires from the back room while Jessie is indifferent as always. Kenny jumps up and handstands on top of the dumbbell Machoke is holding ending their presentation. The judges love it.
It's Dawn's turn next, and Kenny tells Dawn that she better get through to the battle as he wants the chance to defeat her this time. Now only would it make up for his loss to her in the Floaroma Contest, but he also reveals that he saw Dawn compete in the Wallace Cup and he wants to be able to defeat the person who won it. Dawn promises her friend and rival that she'll do her best.
Dawn is next and calls out Ambipom with a Song Seal and orders for Double Team and Focus Punch. Ambipom Double Teams into a circle, uses Focus Punch on the ♪'s and ♫'s, dances in midair and covers the stage with sparkles. Brock comments on how Ambipom and Dawn are totally in sync, and Mamoswine opens its eyes to watch. Kenny cheers Dawn on from the back room. Then Ambipom uses Swift, hits the stars with its tail as a ping pong move, and spins around in midair swirling the stars around herself. Ambipom uses Double Hit and the stars break into sparkles. Marian and the judges love her performance and Mamoswine is impressed. Ash and friends notice Mamoswine watching and ask Mamoswine's opinion of Dawn's performance but goes back to napping.
Dawn joins Ash and co. in the stands and is extremely nervous about making it into Round 2. Dawn tells them that Kenny said he's very determined to win the Contest and Ash encourages her. Jessie, Kenny, and Dawn make it into Round 2. Mamoswine shows some interest, Brock advises her to stay calm and Kenny and Dawn exchange friendly rivalry. Meowth and James praise Jessie and Mime Jr. Jessie will be using her Seviper in Round 2.
Jessie, Dawn and Kenny defeat their first matched coordinator. Jessie and Dawn battle in the semifinals and Dawn defeats her easily. James and Meowth are afraid are what will happen to them because Jessie lost.
Dawn and Kenny make it to the finals. Dawn uses Ambipom while Kenny uses his Prinplup. Mamoswine is wide awake and watching. Kenny begins with a Drill Peck and Dawn counters with Swift. Ambipom uses Double Team and Prinplup uses BubbleBeam. Ambipom hits the BubbleBeam back with a Focus Punch. Prinplup uses Metal Claw to hit them back again turning the Contest into a ping pong match. Marian says this ping pong exchange during a Contest battle is a first. Prinplup uses BubbleBeam again right after a Metal Claw and Ambipom uses Double Hit to pop the bubbles. Prinplup uses Drill Peck, Ambipom uses Focus Punch and the two collide in midair. Prinplup uses Metal Claw while nosediving and spinning. Ambipom goes for a direct attack and tries to use Double Hit but it fails, leaving Ambipom wide-open to attack. Kenny has Prinplup use Drill Peck, and Prinplup lands a direct-hit which knocks out Ambipom, causing Dawn to be instantly eliminated and giving Kenny the win and the contest. Dawn praises Ambipom and Ash and co. are saddened. Jessie says that she needs another Pokémon to partner with for the next Contest and Meowth swears that he will win the next Contest. Raoul Contesta praises Kenny and hands him the Sandalstraw Contest Ribbon. Kenny says the Ribbon belongs to his Prinplup and Machoke. Dawn thinks she was hung up on getting her fifth Ribbon, and Brock says she should be proud for how well she performed in this Contest.
Kenny leaves to train and catch more Pokémon. Both Dawn and Kenny promise that they will defeat the other the next time they meet. Barry suggests that Dawn should participate in the upcoming Pokémon Ping Pong Tournament because of how well Ambipom did during the ping pong exchange.
- There is no Professor Oak's Pokémon lecture following this episode.
- This is the first episode in which Kenny is seen obtaining a Ribbon on-screen. All others were shown on television.
- This episode is similar to a Contest in a previous episode, Team Shocker!, as Dawn uses only Ambipom, loses the Contest, and Kenny participates.
- As of this episode, Kenny is the third Coordinator to include oneself in the appeal rounds of a Contest with Dawn and Jessilina preceding him.
- In this episode, Ambipom participates in what turns out to be her final Contest.
- This is the first Contest after its capture in The Thief That Keeps on Thieving! that Jessie did not use Yanmega in.
- The dub's title is based on the phrase, Old Dog, New Tricks.
- James and Meowth wear the outfits they wore in Electric Shock Showdown. Wobbuffet is also wearing the outfit as well.
- An instrumental version of By Your Side ~Hikari's Theme~ is used during Dawn's appeal round.
- Team Rocket doesn't blast off or recite their motto during this episode.
- During the second round battles, Ambipom uses Double Hit on a Haunter. As a Normal-type move, it should not affect Haunter, a Ghost-type Pokémon.
- Just before Marian announces the finalists, Piplup's "cape" is missing.
- In one scene, Empoleon's neck is colored the same as its mouth.
- In the next scene, the bottom portion of Empoleon's mouth is colored black.
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