There's a lot to unpack here, but let's start at the beginning. The OP wanted recommendations for "high end" frying pans, not merely adequate ones. If adequate is OK with you, great.it's just really hard for me to believe that there is a sane use for cast iron for which a stargazer, griswold, aus-ion etc. is not more than adequate. Ive cooked two ribeyes at once in the 12"er and the crust certainly did not suggest there was inadequate thermal mass despite dropping two fridge cold steaks in there.
slightly related but I would hope I would not have to explain why a test proposed earlier in this thread about throwing a large quantity of cold water in a heated pan is not only completely ridiculous but also unbelievably stupid/unsafe.
eventually you have to actually use your pans and a longer handle/usable helper, well designed lip and lighter weight are, at least IME with these pans, real wins from that perspective. ok you dont care that's fine I cant tell you what will or wont make your life easier only mine. but I find this focus on benchmarks where everything scores "much more than good enough" strange given you have to put up the thermo-gun and actually cook something at some point.
ultimately if you really desire high thermal mass nothing suggested in this thread, Lodge included, is going to beat a Demeyere, All-Clad or similar quality 7 layer pan that weighs as much as a Lodge except it's got functional handles, heats SUPER evenly and costs 12x as much as the last Lodge I bought.
at least @btbyrd I think you're being reasonable about it even though I ultimately still disagree with you.
As for the experiment I proposed, not once did I suggest "throwing" water anywhere. Once you remove the pan from the oven and place it on a trivet, you simply pour the water into the pan slowly. It's not dangerous, stupid, or unsafe – I've done it multiple times with different types of cookware to no ill effect. If you were to heat the pans to more than 450°F, however, you could potentially run into trouble with thermal shock in cast iron. Just don't be an idiot about it, and you'll be fine.
The real lunacy in your post, however, is writing that nothing suggested in this thread outperforms Demeyere or All-Clad (or even cast iron) for sheer thermal mass. Did you somehow miss my recommendation for Paderno Grand Gourmet (aka Vollrath Centurion)? With 6.5 mm of aluminum and another 1.7 mm of SS in its disc base, it has as much thermal mass as a 6.5 mm thick layer of cast iron – far thicker even than Lodge, and much more than in Demeyere's Proline, as well. Alternatively, the OP could consider some thick bare aluminum pans from Alegacy Eagleware or Agnelli. Oh, and the best part is that Paderno pieces can often be found for far less than $100. For example: Paderno 11115 – 28 POT 28 CM Double Handled Saute Pan Stainless Steel : Amazon.de: Home & Kitchen
It's probably also worth reading this review of the 12" Lodge skillet, just for reference: https://www.centurylife.org/in-dept...12-inch-cast-iron-skillet-10sk-l10sk3ashh41b/