Only here for a few seconds, so will have to be brief.
Bootloader isn't touchscreen. You did it the only way you can.
Black screen for recovery sounds wrong. Best might be to find one for your version (cdma handset may need a different one from gsm, so try the Verizon ATR forum for links. Check compatibility of stuff before flashing). When you have a good image you can fastboot flash that, which will let you take nandroid backups & flash ROMs. Am very surprised no working recovery though.
Personally I'm not a fan of ROM Manager. It does nothing that you can't do with a custom recovery, so is "one more things that can go wrong" in my mind. Hence I've never used it, so can't really advise.
Anyway, good news. You're well on the way
Safest way of experimenting with bloat is using Titanium to freeze it. As you are S-Off it can also uninstall, but freeze is easier to reverse if there's a problem.