Re: How would Naruto fare in the Kage encounter if he swapped with Sasuke???
Who's stronger is a very subjective question. The reason being is that the data we collected to answer that particular question relies heavily on our own point of view when reading the manga and/or watching the anime. Let me give an example :
Lets say that Naruto fought with........Kisame. After 2 hours of intense battle, Kisame cornered Naruto and was almost ready to cut Naruto's head off. But..Kisame didn't, he chose to simply walk away and leave Naruto there half dead. Q : Who is stronger? Kisame or Naruto?. The logical conclusion is that Kisame's stronger than Naruto. But, Naruto's die hard fans will say something like "he didn't enter his SM, or maybe Kyuubi mode and thats why he lost, if not Kisame will be on deep shit tool". Some fans will probably analyse on why Kisame "retreated", they probably come up with an analysis that Kisame was afraid that Naruto entered the Kyuubi or Sage Mode if cornered, and in the end they would say that Kisame will be in deep shit tool if Naruto use either one. See what I mean?
We tend to analyse the situation by adding the gap between each page in manga with our own interpretation (e.g : What would have happened if it goes "this" way). With "this" is our own interpretation of how the story goes. To most people, this is done automatically. Which is part of the excitement on reading manga and waiting for the next one. However, this is also the reason that make some of us tend to ignore some facts and keep pushing their own point of view. They don't like their interpretation challenged.
Nagato had Naruto cornered and pinned down in manga during the battle at Konoha, but Hinata came in, fought Nagato and ended up almost dead. Which in turn sent Naruto into berserk and activated the kyuubi mode. Nagato got Naruto pinned down and that's all there is to it, don't add another assumption that he could have killed Naruto but he didn't. On the other hand, Naruto defeated the 6 paths of Pain, went to confront the real pain, get hit with the chakra controlling stick at close range and was able to resist Nagato chakra. That's all there is to it, don't add another stuff like Gedo Maze or whatever thing that Nagato could have pulled but he didn't or the stuff that Naruto could have easily killed him but he didn't. In the end, Nagato entrusted Naruto with His dream and died after using his remaining chakra to revive those that he killed in Konoha.
In my interpretation, defeat means only when that person lose more than the other. In Nagato vs Naruto case......Naruto lose Jiraiya, Nagato lose his life......so, there is no winner since there is no loser. That's why, I quote what Naruto said to the party assigned to find the real pain "Win, lose....is that really matter", there was no winner on that day, they all lose something.
I think i am going off track here, so let me summarize before i go too far away w.r.t the topic. Naruto would have fared better than Sasuke in his fight against the Kages, I based this on what appear in manga only, such as SM speed, Endurance, Power and the fact that he can use clone to accumulate Chakra as backup. Sasuke only have 1 chakra and there is no backup and he sure can't use natural chakra either. So, please don't say something like "heh, there is no way Naruto would be given a chance to call his chakra backup, Raikage/Mizukage/Tsuchikage would kick him in the head before he could have pulled it off." This is what I called "between page" interpretation. If all naruto's battle ended up by kicking the bad guy head or stab him/her b4 they could do hand seals....Naruto's manga will be pretty lame, right?
Okay.........I have no idea what I said here, but i typed it already, so I might as well post it.