After 2 days of monkeying around I finally got it fixed.
I never could get the phone recognized in recovery mode (philz mod) and using ADB as suggested by the guide I linked.
Finally what worked is I downloaded the stock rom zip, extracted it, edited the xml file in MS word deleting the 2 lines with "getvar" in them, booted the phone into fastboot mode, connected the phone to my PC and made sure it was recognized in device manager, loaded the xml from the stock rom into RSD Lite and flashed back to stock, rebooted, and all was working fine.
I know there's a million and 1 guides that say to do what I just described and believe me I tried the exact things I posted above for the better part of 2 days and rsd lite would always fail with some kind of error. Finally I rebooted my PC, downloaded the stock rom again, edited the xml, and tried one last time and it finally worked...I don't know what made the difference.
Now if I could just find a trick around this darn subsidy (hard) lock this Atrix HD would be back in business.