It doesn't feel as triumphant because it's painfully clear that Ash isn't the strongest trainer in Alola. He was definitely weaker than Guzma, and is probably weaker than Kukui. He may have been worse than Ilima. I said as much in SM137.Even though I’m mostly disappointed with this League, I’m still shocked at this even if it was revealed in such an underwhelming way. Not the ideal way for him to win but we got something ig. It’s really lacking that sense of triumph for me
The title has always been a little hollow, especially in Champion League formats, and that is a main reason I was never too torn up about Ash losing to Tobias. Ash lost to Palmer, and Flint/Bertha destroyed him; realistically, the only way to improve on his Battle Frontier team is to swap out Torkoal for Infernape. That still isn't enough to beat Flint. Sceptile, Infernape, and Pikachu might have been barely able to beat the Regi Trio Brandon used against Paul. That was Ash's upper limit in Sinnoh.
People had deluded themselves in Kalos. There's still people who think Noivern defeated Zapdos. If Alain could pull five Pokemon out of his arse to make a full team and do that much damage to Ash, Ash's Kalos team outside of Pikachu and Greninja was nothing special.
Alola was grounded from the very start. It never let the hype spiral out of control like in Kalos, where Ash's fanclub rivaled Gary's Kanto one. We had legends, Megas and Z-Moves, but they never felt like a clash of titans. That's Alola in a nutshell: it's not a lame, cowardly country like France, it's Hawaii. Laid-back, fun-loving, and down to earth.