The Chunin Exams is one of the earliest arcs of Naruto and remains a favorite to this day. Despite being the beginning of the franchise, the competition featured many memorable fights, including Naruto against Neji Hyuga.

Neji was considered the greatest shinobi at that event, the owner of the best skills, so why wasn’t Naruto promoted to Chunin when he defeated Hyuga?

The Chunin Exam ended up being interrupted and the only ones who could become Chunin would be Shikamaru and Naruto since Sasuke had not finished his fight, and Shino had not even fought, but only Shikamaru became Chunin.

To understand why Naruto didn’t become Chunin, just check the definition of what a Chunin is. Chunin are ninja qualified to guide other ninja and lead missions . In other words, they are ninja with maturity and skill, which consists of leadership and tactical skills. Naruto was strong, but he had none of that.

Tsunade was Fifth Hokage and knew that Naruto was emotional and always acted impulsively. Tsunade knew that even though Naruto had won that fight, he wasn’t ready to be a Chunin.

Shikamaru, on the other hand, purposely chose to lose their fight even though he had already won. He was calm, strategic and knew how to make the moves at the right time . Therefore, at that time, Shikamaru was a much better ninja than Naruto, being also more compatible with the title of Chunin.

Therefore, regardless of whether Naruto beat Neji or Gaara in the same day, he was not qualified to be a Chunin.