Lawler/Savage 6/3/85 is a great overlooked shout. Top 3 Loser Leaves Town match for Lawler just below the '83 and '85 Dundee matches. Savage is brilliant as the maniacal and deranged lunatic, Lawler rules the world as the passionate and heroic babyface, the teased finish is beautiful and the final climax of the match might actually be the definitive Lawler comeback and finishing stretch. Simply majestic.
Flair/Koko Ware 11/18/85 is a great Flair title defence which never really gets mentioned when people think of the Steamboat, Funk, Windham, Rhodes, Morton, Wahoo, Garvin etc defences. Koko is a truly lost great worker, Flair in '85 bumps, stooges and plays off of Koko magnificently and you get a really great plucky babyface vs touring champion sensation dynamic.
Flair/Roberts 11/24/85 is a truly masterful performance by both men. The build and booking with the pre match DDT and Jake relentlessly targeting the neck of Flair to soften him up for his decisive blow. The work is just timed and paced superbly with a ridiculously hot crowd coming unglued for everything they see.
Duggan/Dibiase 3/22/85 is one of the best feud ender matches in history. Perfectly booked and structured, intense and chaotic, packed with stiff punches and numerous teases of Dibiase again sneaking past Duggan when it matters most. Numerous call backs to past moments of their feud, a sympathetic and expressive babyface opposite the devious and snake like heel and the finish that was two years in the making. Dibiase/Flair 11/6/85 whilst only going 7-8 minutes as a match is also a perfectly booked segment with the pre match and post match Murdoch heel turn and bloody beating of Dibiase. Dibiase turning face in the process and then valiantly agreeing to wrestle despite the blood dripping from his head because its likely the one and only chance at the World Title he's been dreaming of his whole career is just beautiful storytelling and he sells every blow and desire to control the match majestically.
Duggan/Sawyer 11/11/85 is also a fabulous bloody brawl with an all time great post match angle that sees them fighting through security and eventually into the back screaming and tearing at the other. Sawyer takes some lunatic bumps on the outside into the guardrail, Duggan on top throws great punches and is a suitably vicious bastard whilst Sawyer bumps and times every little transition to perfection. Finish is a tad anticlimatic but it sets up the post match angle tremendously and man that angle is just incredible. Sawyer bleeding over his body, being held back by half a dozen guys and just screaming Duggan's name in the most maniacal and twisted voice you can ever hear before collapsing from blood loss was just astounding.
Flair/Kerry 12/10/85 is the dogs bollocks and another truly overlooked Flair defence. Absolutely love how they incorporate the claw into the match and its packed with the typical Flair intricacies that make his matches work so well: Kerry controls and looks effortlessly great and the champion to be, Flair stooges, bumps and demonstrates his impeccable resiliency and intestinal fortitude to come back from the brink of defeat.
Reed/Murdoch 9/22/85 is a great character study as its face/face but Murdoch is on the verge of the heel turn that would culminate with his involvement in the Dibiase/Flair title match. They work some really simple but progressive exchanges and perfectly time the transition from a feeling out process into both men slowly getting under the others' skin and breaking the match into a nasty brawl. Murdoch throws some jaw shattering punches, sells everything in the theatrical but still tremendous way that only Murdoch can and Reed continues to demonstrate how overlooked and talented he was during this time.
Fujiwara/Super Tiger 9/11/85 is another gem in their series which I've long championed as being far above the famed and generally critically acclaimed Dynamite Kid/Tiger Mask series. Fujiwara as the grappling marvel constantly looking for submissions and to ground Tiger makes for a great story and being the great worker Fujiwara is he structures all of Tiger's strikes and highspots perfectly and bumps and sells each one in this really intricate way that has you buying each strike could be closer to finishing the match. As far as technical vs striker matches go this series might very well be the benchmark for that style.
Wahoo/Flair 2/3 Falls from BOTB 9/2/85 might be a top three Flair title defence alongside the Worldwide Windham match and Steamboat from Clash of the Champions. Flair again bumps and sells effortlessly for Wahoo and makes him look like the biggest obstacle he'll ever have to overcome to retain the belt. Loved how they made Wahoo the stronger in the strike exchanges and constantly see Flair struggling to piece together a strategy and gameplan that can control him the match. Each fall is timed and worked wonderfully to develop a running narrative and the conclusion is one of Flair's finest with his resiliency and tenacious attitude acting as the perfect counteract to Wahoo's overwhelming power and dominance. A very violent Flair match which again disproves the notion he never deviated or altered the style of match he worked.
Tully/Magnum I Quit is also neck and neck with the match I'd call MOTY (Lawler/Dundee). Amazing babyface/heel dynamic, constantly engrossing, constantly frenetic and violent, nuclear crowd heat, perfect workover and control by Tully that has you fearing for Magnum's safety, every Magnum strike timed wonderfully to keep you hoping he has enough in him to overcome Tully and then one of the best finishes ever with Magnum finally starting to overpower and prove too much for Tully to counter, leading to the perfect finish to encapsulate the hatred the babyface has for the heel and the lengths it would take for one man to finally concede to the other. Beautiful work.
Still, can't look past Lawler/Dundee 12/30/85 as far as the MOTY goes. I'd put it as probably the best match in US history despite the clipping which still infuriates me. Incredible performances from both men with Lawler working with one eye and a patch over the other. Just the intricate little touches of him throwing wayward punches early as he tries to adjust to his hampered vision, coupled with Dundee skulking and moving into his blindspot and using his quickness to hit jabs and punches that Lawler can't defend against. Dundee as the smarmy, scheming and bumping wildman might be his best performance and he just nails every aspect of his character. When he bumps and sells its tremendous and pulls you into the Lawler comeback, when he's on top and toying with a handicapped Lawler he looks like the biggest piece of shit walking the planet. All the little rules of three spots with Lawler countering one of Dundee's moves on the third attempt and having the crowd scream in excitement just fascinate me and everything from when they fight into the crowd to the finish is wonderful and the epitome of wrestling to me. Yes its ridiculous that Lawler can fall over a rail to the floor and be walking 10 seconds later but its timed to perfection and makes him look like the biggest badass and untouchable babyface you've ever seen. Dundee weaseling and trying fruitlessly to usurp Lawler's dominance just adds to the tension and the finish is still a personal favourite of mine.