Mower is now fixed.
Turned out the blade was not bent only the mulch kit shroud was bent slightly inward making contact with the blade. After pulling that blade I thought was likely the problem, held it up with the new one no sign of being bent. I put the new one on anyway, and still had the same racket from under the mower deck when the blades were engaged.
All it took to fix the actual issue was about 5 seconds with an old fashion hammer. Problem solved.