The midi monitor was helpful in verifying that the mod wheel was not sending thru a signal. In the transport panel I could see the mod wheel was activating it just wasn’t getting thru to the track.
Upon further investigation, I found Cubase 7.5 was working fine and 8/8.5 were not. I began comparing all settings to find something that was off and the culprit was Device Setup> VST Quick Controls. Quick Control 1-4 were set as 0,1,2,3 I changed them to 70,71,72,73 to match 7.5 settings and all is well in the world.
Thanks for everyone’s advice. Hope this saves someone else’s headache down the road! Todd