Each new generation of kids is supposed to see Ash struggle with his gym battles.
Maybe pokemon should take yu-gi-oh's approach then and have newer heros take Ash's place if that's what matters, cause what about the long term fans who still watch to see Ash progress and show he's getting stronger as a trainer, not regressing.
Um, the people that swept those matches aren't the main character. It's boring to have the main character win effortlessly ALL THE TIME.
Then his rivals shouldn't look so strong, sure they can be shown to be slightly stronger than him, so that he actually has a chance to beat them, but not be shown on the type of level they show paul at where he just wiped the floor with maylene while Ash barely tied with her, that's really saying something right there.
Side characters can do it because it's used to make them look invincible so that their "good" rival can win, making them look better. Pokemon's target audience isn't supposed to look up to those characters, just Ash.
Flawed obviously because people like Paul greatly because he's doing things that are intresting compared to stale things Ash does.
It would be like Goku beating everyone in DBZ without breaking a sweat, the GLs, Rivals, and E4 trainers show you that there is always someone stronger out there, no matter how strong you get.
You can't use Goku as an example, because by the end of dragonball he always did find ways to get stronger than the people he battled, Ash is not doing that.
Not main character=Not having to struggle, and being able to sweep. Ash will never be that good, as long as he's a Shounen hero.
Then i guess Ash can't battle an elite four until they pull a gx type situation then and bring in a new person to fill his role, solely because he has to sweep gyms to show he's ready to battle them head on, and even if he did use his older pokemon his mindset isn't ready for such a task either because he still makes ametuer mistakes that cost him big time.
Besides if Kanto and hoenn elite four members could beat the tar out of ash with little effort, what does that really say about sinnoh's elite if he's able to beat them?