2. Okay, now you're going too far. The Don Battle's just a nice lil' arc where we can see some development and interaction between the characters and rivals, and because there's no counterpart to the Contests this time they simply decided to give Iris her time to shine with Excadrill, who both honestly deserved the win after all the development they had in BW036. Seeing her eyes light up and hugging Excadrill has to be one of the most heartwarming moments so far this series.
3. We all know that Axew needed a new move other than Dragon Rage and Scratch, and they decided to give it to us without having another episode of training, sips and giggles. Scraggy learning HJK in the next episode doesn't matter because it's primarily Meowth's episode, and he needed something other than being "that talking cat from the TRio."
tl;dr - The writers are the same people doing this year's Anti-Christ Superstar: Japan Edition.