Haha! Did you have the same issue or are just saluting me for figuring it out? It may seem trivial but when you're in the middle of a port that took 3 days to compile and run without errors it's hard to zero in. Hoping this post helps someone out in the future!
If anyone else is having this problem ... you want to make sure you see the viewport outline in pix. The vertex values after transforms were correct in taht they should be displayed on screen. But the viewport structure itself wasn't properly setup (D3D11_VIEWPORT and RSSetViewports) it was set to 0 pixels X 0 pixels due to the fact that setting up the backbuffer is somewhat of a special case because you have to grab it from the swap chain.
- I'm clearing the backbuffer to a different color every frame and that is properly flickering - PIX shows that there is output to the viewport as you can see in the image - None the less it appears no pixels are being written to the backbuffer