Lol Pidgeot is not OP by any means. Chimchar beat a Staraptor, something that COULD perhaps be considered OP. If they did get rid of Charizard before the 1st gym they could've just had Pikachu win, or Cyndaquil had he caught it at that time, or even Heracross.
Man I've been watching through the Johto series in Japanese(there are a LOT of episodes I've never seen dubbed either so there's that too) and I got upset when I realised Ash still had Heracross on him in Azalea town and still used Pikachu and Chikorita in the Bug gym. Bug VS Bug YOLO, HELLO ASH? Y U NO DO YOUR THING?