Naruto: Every Fight In The Chunin Exam (& Their Winner)


   It’s obvious that there was a sinister undertone to the exams, but that ominous feeling dissipated when the ninja began to clash. Each fight gave the contestants a chance to show what they were made of, while also introducing the audience to important characters. Although the exam was interrupted before completion, there were still plenty of fights with a clear winner.

   Updated on July 24, 2023, by Ajay Aravind: The last episode ofthe Chunin Exam arc aired in 2006, but fans still remember it as one of the best Naruto storylines. Similar to the exam-themed arcs in shonen anime like My Hero Academia and Hunter x Hunter, low-level genin in Naruto have to pass Chunin Exams in order to become chunin. Due to this arc’s universal popularity, we’ve updated this list of the best Chunin Exam fights.

   13 Sasuke Vs Yoroi

   Winner: Sasuke

Sasuke grapples Yoroi with both his legs

   The first one-on-one battle to take place during Naruto‘s Chunin Exams arc was a fight between Sasuke and Yoroi. Yoroi was a fairly forgettable ninja who ultimately couldn’t stand up to an Uchiha. His ability was stealing strength with a touch, which admittedly caused several problems for Sasuke at the start of the fight. However, the latter’s Sharingan’s ability to learn others’ techniques offered Sasuke the decisive victory. He used an attack that he’d learned from Rock Lee before this fight, and easily put Yoroi down for the count and removed him as a factor in the rest of the exam.

   12 Shino Vs Zaku

   Winner: Shino

Zaku stares in horror as Shino appears behind him

   This Chunin Exam fight featured another one of Orochimaru’s spies, Zaku. He fought using holes in his arms that could create sound and wind. Unfortunately for him, this was also the fight where the audience learned just how capable and scary Shino could be. As a member of the infamous Aburame clan, Shino’s body was essentially a giant nest for bugs that he could control. He tricked Zaku and ended up filling the holes in his arms with insects during a brief moment of distraction. When Zaku tried to use his ability, he ended up severely injuring himself, ending the match in a win for Shino.

   11 Kankuro Vs Tsurugi

   Winner: Kankuro

Tsurugi coiling around Kankuro from behind

   Kankuro is the first fighter from the Village Hidden in the Sand, and goes against another forgettable ninja from Konoha. He seems to be in trouble at the beginning of the fight when Tsurugi coils around him like a snake, but he quickly turns the tables. It’s revealed that he is a puppet master, and the body that Tsurugi had attacked was actually a puppet. This allows Kankuro to easily counter his opponent’s moves and decisively win the match. This is also the first time that puppet techniques were introduced, although they would become much more important down the road.

   10 Sakura Vs Ino

   No Winner

Sakura and Ino's punch meets in midair

   This is the first fight of the Chunin Exam where both combatants had their backstories and dreams revealed, making the otherwise battle-heavy arc feel somewhat profound and humanized. That said, the audience wasn’t sure who to root for, but the girls’ previous rivalry automatically led to an intense fight. Ino seemed to display a better grasp of trickery than Sakura did — however, in the end, they both knocked each other unconscious and out of the exam. Although the fight helped them to rekindle their friendship and start anew, there was no victor for this particular fight.

   9 Tenten Vs Temari

   Winner: Temari

Temari easily lifts an unconscious Tenten on her fan

   This was the second fight where both characters were important, but it was also one of the most one-sided fights in the entire Chunin Exam. Tenten showed off her massive array of weapons, not to mention the devastating ability to send a flurry of projectiles toward her enemy. Unfortunately, Temari was the perfect counter against her formidable techniques. Temari’s large fan and control over wind meant that Tenten couldn’t land so much as a scratch on her. After toying with Tenten for a bit, Temari easily seized victory from her unconscious opponent.

   8 Shikamaru Vs Kin

   Winner: Shikamaru

Shikamaru and Kin face each other and prepare to fight

    Kin was another one of Orochimaru’s spies. Unfortunately for her, however, it was revealed just how intelligent Shikamaru was during their fight. She was very proficient with needles, and one of the first people in the show to use a genjutsu against her opponent by utilizing bells. It initially seemed that Shikamaru would lose this by a huge margin, but after noticing a string connected to a bell, it was all over for Kin. Shikamaru was able to extend his shadow along the bottom of the thread to trap her, effectively ending the fight. This was a great showing for Shikamaru, especially as he managed to stop yet another spy.

    7 Naruto Vs Kiba

    Winner: Naruto

Naruto accidentally passes wind on Kiba's face

  Naruto is portrayed as a bit of a doofus throughout the series, but it’s hard to deny that he’s incredibly intelligent when it comes to combat. He probably could have just rained shadow clones onto Kiba, but he maneuvered in a way to make Kiba defeat himself. He fooled Kiba twice by transforming into his dog, Akamaru. In typical Naruto style, he even passed wind in Kiba’s face, which was devastating due to the latter’s enhanced sense of smell. Naruto was then able to do his own version of Lee and Sasuke’s move, which he labeled the “Uzumaki Barrage.” Naruto had to win this for the plot, but Kiba still put on a good display.

   6 Hinata Vs Neji

   Winner: Neji

Hinata and Neji in a battle stance

   Similar to the Ino and Sakura fight, these two combatants had issues before the fight even began. They are both from the Hyuga clan, but Neji is part of the lesser family within the clan. This caused him to develop resentment, explaining why he takes it as a personal challenge to prove that he’s more than his blood. While this is a noble endeavor, he goes about it the wrong way. Hinata seeks to prove herself as well, and the two Gentle Fist users go at each other in an incredible display of skill. Unfortunately, Neji proves to be too much for Hinata and defeats her soundly before being stopped by some of the viewing jonin.

   5 Gaara Vs Rock Lee

   Winner: Gaara

Rock Lee hits Gaara so hard he goes flying

   This fight was easily one of the most exciting during Naruto‘s Chunin Exams arc, as it pitted two powerhouses against each other. Rock Lee was easily able to defeat Sasuke before the fights began, and Gaara was hyped up to the point that the audience was worried about Lee’s safety. The fight that followed was intense, and Lee removing his weights was an incredible scene. Despite having enough speed and power to overwhelm Gaara’s defenses, Lee was almost killed when Gaara let loose. Rock Lee’s performance may have been stellar, but he just couldn’t stop Gaara from winning.

   4 Choji Vs Dosu

   Winner: Dosu

Choji and Dosu prepare to fight in the arena

   The final fight of the second phase involved Dosu, the third and final spy sent by Orochimaru. The previous two had already been eliminated, so it was no surprise when Dosu managed to defeat Choji and continue through the Chunin Exam. Choji fought valiantly but ended up causing his own undoing. This fight also proved how limited Choji’s arsenal was at the time, and led to him learning new abilities and forcing himself to become stronger. Despite moving on past this fight, Dosu foolishly chose to challenge Gaara, a decision that resulted in his death.

   3 Naruto Vs Neji

   Winner: Naruto

Naruto radiates his orange aura as Neji looks on

   The first battle in the final stage was also one of the best Chunin Exam fights. Naruto was mad at Neji for going so hard against Hinata when he didn’t need to, and Neji thought of Naruto as a failure who could never succeed. It was a remarkable battle with Naruto having to draw on the Nine-Tails’ chakra to even compete with Neji. That said, Naruto eventually ended up winning the battle and proving Neji wrong. This event led Neji down a redeeming path that later turned him into one of the more beloved Naruto characters. The best part was that Naruto didn’t win because of the chakra loan, but by outmaneuvering Neji on his own.

   2 Temari Vs Shikamaru

   Winner: Temari

Temari and Shikamaru raise their hands while facing each other

   Originally Shikamaru was supposed to fight Dosu, but Dosu was killed by Gaara before this stage of the Chunin Exam. The fight between Temari and Shikamaru was a battle between two master strategists, but Shikamaru was the better warrior between them. It seemed like he was on the defensive throughout the entire fight, but it turns out he was just manipulating Temari into a position where he could catch her with his shadow jutsu. Despite having her completely at his mercy, he shocked everyone by forfeiting the match. This gave Temari the official win, but Shikamaru was the true winner of this battle.

   1 Sasuke Vs Gaara

   Unfinished Match

Naruto - Sasuke and Gaara stare at each other

This ended up being the final fight of the Chunin exams due to Orochimaru springing a trap and hijacking the exams. Sasuke had been training diligently and was able to blitz Gaara just like Lee had done earlier. Gaara couldn’t handle his speed, so he increased his defenses so that Sasuke couldn’t reach him. Sasuke then broke out his new technique, the Chidori. He was able to pierce through Gaara’s defense and severely injure him with this ability. Sasuke thoroughly deserved to win this fight, and his victory only got interrupted by the Sand ninjas and Orochimaru interfering at the last moment

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