Pokémon: Team Rocket’s 10 biggest failures, ranked

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The Team Rocket trio are no strangers to failure. In their 23 years of vile plots, shady plans and unreliable mechs, they’ve failed in myriad ways, not just to grab their precious. Pokemon, Ash’s Pikachu. Thanks to the trio’s many failures, they aren’t really seen as threats. In fact, their ineptitude can be endearing.

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Among the weak points of Jessie, James and Meowth is the time when they failed to recite their own motto, the fact that they were usurped by smarter and more knowledgeable thieves in their own organization, and their failure even to be wicked by doing good deeds.


ten They are constantly sabotaging each other

Despite all of Team Rocket’s best efforts to dress up, they enjoy tearing up these costumes and revealing their true identities to recite their motto. If they could just contain themselves a little more, they would have been much more successful. Given their love of the spotlight, not to mention all the times their mechas have gone wrong or their plans backfired, it’s easy to see why the Team Rocket trio are so unsuccessful.

9 They are repeatedly duped by a Magikarp seller

pokemon james magikarp seller holding manual

The Magikarp Vendor is an unscrupulous con artist who sells Pokémon and other stuff at ridiculous prices. Team Rocket are recurring victims of the Vendor’s ploys, buying a Magikarp disguised as a Feebas, trading a Weepinbell for James’ Victreebell, and purchasing a machine that the man believes could evolve Pokémon, only to end up malfunctioning and disintegrating. . Team Rocket just never seems to learn when it comes to this peddler of dodgy goods.

8 Meowth’s inability to learn payday made him a false god

pokemon team rocket meowth holding jessie and james

In “Meowth Rules”, Team Rocket finds themselves on a desert island, Meowth being taken for a deity by the inhabitants of the island. It is believed that when Meowth uses Pay Day, it will bring happiness and prosperity to the villagers, but, due to the time spent learning to speak like a human, Meowth is unable to learn movement.

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Jessie and James try to trick the Islanders into throwing nickels and bottle caps to make it look like they came from the sky, but Meowth, her missing friends, confesses to the charade before joining the team and leaving the Isle.

7 They failed to be bad guys helping Ash

pokemon the movie 2000 ash pikachu team rocket motorboat

In “Pokémon the Movie: 2000”, Team Rocket helped Ash and Lugia save the world by coming to the rescue in a motorboat. And that wasn’t the only time they were the good guys. They also helped Ash stop an evil Malamar from taking over the world, and they saved caged Pokémon that had been poached. They even spent an entire episode cheering on Pikachu. For a band that prides itself on being bad, Team Rocket does a fair bit of good.

6 They focus on Pikachu when there are so many other Pokémon

Pokemon team rocket playing pikachu ufo game

Ash’s Pikachu is special, there’s no doubt about it, but Team Rocket’s infatuation with it borders on the unhealthy. They sometimes prey on other Pokémon, but the majority of their time and energy has been spent trying and failing to catch Pikachu. If they had spent the same amount of time and energy catching other Pokémon, they would likely be a lot richer than catching Pikachu would.

5 They failed to recite their own motto

pokemon team rocket james in anguish

You would think that having recited the same motto (albeit with variations) on so many occasions, Team Rocket would have no problem with it. In “The Punchy Pokémon”, Jessie and James disguise themselves as a giant by having Jessie sit on James’ shoulders and wearing a large coat in order to participate in a boxing competition. After they start scolding, they start reciting the motto but James is clearly struggling, and he barely manages to finish his first two lines before falling to his knees and moaning.

4 They failed to steal Moltres’ flame

pokemon team rocket holding torch ashes

“All Fired Up,” the 74th episode of the anime, sees the Team Rocket trio attempt to steal the flame believed to symbolize the spirit of the Pokémon League. While they are able to pull the torch away from Ash and run away on their ball, they manage to scorch themselves while playing with it.

RELATED: Pokémon: 10 Times Team Rocket Broke the Fourth Wall

They manage to pick up the torch by disguising themselves as Pokémon League officials before entering a mecha, but Moltres appears from the flame and blows them up, humiliating them in front of a crowded stadium.

3 They didn’t catch Pikachu despite countless attempts

Pokemon Team Rocket Angry Gaze

Team Rocket would need to take to heart Albert Einstein’s quote about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results being the definition of insanity. Their unsuccessful pursuit of Pikachu has long been a futile exercise. Even after all the mechs, traps, and disguises, racking up fail after failure, they haven’t learned their lesson yet and keep trying to catch the little Electric Pokémon.

2 They were usurped by Butch & Cassidy

Butch and Cassidy are members of Team Rocket who are actually proficient in flying. Unlike Jessie, James, and Meowth, they’re in good standing with Giovanni, as they’ve received more funding in the form of jet packs and motorized scooters. It must have been a bitter pill to swallow when the Team Rocket trio saw Butch and Cassidy arrive on stage in “The Breeding Center Secret.”

1 They failed in one of their most ambitious projects

pokemon team giovanni ash pikachu rocket in transparent box

Much planning has gone into Operation Storm, a ploy designed by Giovanni to kidnap Meloetta and use his voice to unseal the Reveal Glass, a mystical mirror with special powers. After successfully stealing Meloetta (and Ash and Pikachu to boot), Giovanni uses the Reveal Glass to summon Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus.

A battle ensues with the Pokémon of Cilan, Iris, Ridley, Cynthia, and Ash, ending with Pikachu using Electro Ball to defeat Team Rocket and free Meloetta. The Reveal Glass drives Giovanni mad for power, but the Team Rocket trio depresses him and they retreat. A somewhat disappointing end to their ambitious plan.

NEXT: Pokémon: 10 Times Team Rocket Won Respect

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