Well found my problem:
Looks like the circlip didn't hold the axle in place strongly enough, maybe got dinged up a little bit on the ball joint failure, the axle started coming out of the transmission and then when I used a bit too much gas from the stop light it broke off right where you would expect it to break.
Certainly cheaper than pulling the trans, but at 4 hours to diagnose and replace and 1K for a new axle, still not cheap.
Hopefully will be driving to the body shop next week
Found out that this cobra used the PPG Volcano Orange formula I found, so I am encouraged about the possibility still of making this happen: