Naruto: 10 Chunin Exam Showdowns That Would Have Been Fun To Watch


One of the most popular story arcs of the Naruto The franchise is the Chunin Exam arc, which introduced dozens of exciting new characters, both friend and foe, and pitted them against each other in combat. This test will determine who qualifies as chunin and who doesn’t, and the standards are high.

RELATED: Naruto: 10 Characters Who Deserved To Pass The Chunin Exams (And Why)

In the original story, the survivors of the Forest of Death fought each other in the preliminaries in the tower, and then there were a few more matches in a stadium for the final phase of the exam. These fights are legendary in the Naruto fandom, but fans may wonder what would have happened if the matchups had been ordered differently. Some truly remarkable fights could have taken place and pushed these characters to the limit.

10 Naruto Uzumaki vs. Rock Lee

Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto ready to fight

In the original story, Naruto engaged Kiba Inuzuka in a fierce hand-to-hand fight, and then faced the Byakugan prodigy, Neji Hyuga. But it would also have been fun to see Naruto take on Rock Lee.

Naruto’s fox chakra was sealed at the moment, so he wouldn’t be able to use it if he fought Rock Lee right away. But if that match came later, then Naruto might have given Rock Lee a good fight in the stadium, and both characters would grow a lot from this fight. And then they would become best friends, no matter who won.

9 Neji Hyuga vs. Shikamaru Nara

Neji Hyuga fought (and destroyed) his cousin Hinata Hyuga in the original story, and then lost to Naruto. But suppose he fought a more difficult opponent, like Shikamaru, the master strategist.

Neji works best up close, which worked well against Hinata and Naruto. Shikamaru is a different story, and Neji would be forced to think and use tricks to win, but can he beat Shikamaru at his own game? The world may never know.

8 Orochimaru vs. Sand gaara

Orochimaru Sannin

Orochimaru also participated in everyone’s chunin exams, despite not being a genin in any way. He really wanted to find a worthy body to claim as his own, and ended up choosing Sasuke Uchiha’s. But what if he crossed paths with Gaara of the Arena?

RELATED: Naruto: 10 Strongest Characters In The Chunin Exams Arc

Orochimaru would have been fascinated with Gaara’s powers, and Orochimaru’s formidable jutsu would have collided very well with Gaara’s invincible sand technique in a breathtaking battle. This battle would have gone far beyond ordinary chunin standards, that’s for sure.

7 Kiba Inuzuka vs. Hinata Hyuga

Kiba Inuzuka is a fierce melee fighter who always has his dog Akamaru by his side. He is also one of Hinata’s teammates, along with Shino Aburame. What if they had to fight during the chunin exams?

Kiba is kinder than the bitter Neji, but could he bring out Hinata’s true power and inspire her to fight him with all her might as a teammate? It’s a tough question to answer, and if they really fought in the original story, Naruto fans would certainly have their answer.

6 Sakura Haruno vs. Kin Tsuchi

Sakura Haruno had few offensive jutsu at her disposal at the time, but she had a powerful mind and a minor talent for genjutsu. All of this made Sakura an effective support ninja, but in the chunin exam, she would have to fight alone at some point.

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Sakura tied against her childhood friend / rival Ino Yamanaka, but what if she fought Kin Tsuchi, a kunoichi who used sound-based genjutsu and needles with bells? This could have been a reasonably fair and smart fight, and Sakura could have paid Kin for what happened in the Forest of Death.

5 Temari vs. Zaku Abumi

temari serious face of naruto

Temari from Sand Village used wind-based jutsu to great effect. Her giant fan will make sharp wind scythes with a single hit, allowing Temari to easily defeat Tenten, a weapons expert. Suppose she fought Zaku Abumi instead?

Zaku also used wind, combined with powerful sonic waves, to attack his enemies. Such a duel would have been head-to-head, and that would give Temari a chance to prove that she is the ultimate wind ninja in a challenging ninjutsu-exclusive battle.

4 Sasuke Uchiha vs. Rock Lee

Sasuke Uchiha in Konoha

Being a dedicated taijutsu user, Rock Lee is fascinating to watch in a world based on stealth and jutsu. Rock Lee’s fight against Gaara was memorable, but Rock Lee also wanted to fight Sasuke Uchiha to see who is the strongest.

RELATED: Naruto: 10 Ninja Who Never Surpassed Chunin’s Rank

At the time, Sasuke was a good sportsman, and he would have been up for a boundless battle with Rock Lee. If these two were paired in the Chunin exams, their duel would undoubtedly go down in Leaf Village history. If only it had been so.

3 Shikamaru Nara vs. Sand gaara

2 shikamaru during chunin exams

Shikamaru is really something. He tries to avoid combat and work, but when he has no other choice, his genius will shine through, along with his remarkable shadow-based jutsu. Any fight that involves him is sure to be interesting.

Shikamaru fought Kin and Temari, and a match against Neji would be fun too. But what about fighting Gaara? Shikamaru would keep his distance and attempt to sneak through Gaara’s sand defenses to take control of that fearsome Sand Village ninja. Shikamaru would also be totally nervous, given how much Gaara scares him.

two Kankuro vs. Kiba Inuzuka

6 Kankuro of the Sand Village

Kankuro is a puppeteer, much like Red Sand’s villain Sasori. During chunin exams, he had a puppet at his disposal and could also sneakily switch places with him. He defeated a minor villain this way, which feels like a waste of his talent.

Instead, it would have been more fun to pair him up with Kiba, a kind of two-person team. This would have been an exciting 2v2 battle, and it would determine whether a battle dog like Akamaru or a wood and metal puppet is the superior is the best companion.

1 Naruto Uzumaki vs. Temari

Naruto fought Kiba and Neji, both close combat fighters, just like him. But what if Naruto fought a long-range ninja like Temari? This would really challenge Naruto to be flexible and creative in battle. Naruto may not be the smartest person in the series, but he’s not entirely dumb. I would find a way.

This fight is a bit more, even if it takes place in the final phase after the toad sage Jiraiya removed the seal on Naruto’s fox chakra. With that extra chakra in hand, Naruto could turn the windmaster Temari around and prove that he can win even if he’s out of his element. And deep down inside, Naruto is also a wind chakra user. It is a thematic showdown.

NEXT: Chunin Arc vs. Hunter Exam Arc: 5 Similarities and 5 Differences

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