Saying Ash has to loose to keep the rivalry going is ridiculous, Ash can finally act as a senior trainer him beating Shooti would be the way to go to me, I dont want another Paul because like I said the hero doesnt have to looses always to the rival to keep the rivalry going, thats just cheap.
Agreed. Ash was a step behind Gary and Paul, and now Shooti? I do think that having Ash being a step behind his rivals is fun to watch, but would it kill them to have Ash being one step before Shooti?
Ash defeating Shooti in this episode can bring many possible scenarios in the future.
But it's the typical thing. Hero is always behind his rival, until the very end of the season/region and then defeats him. Easiest thing in the book in how to make a rivalry. Wouldn't damage them to be a little creative and think outside the book.
Man, did I just mention two and three common phrases? Guess I'm just as uncreative as the writers. Oh well.