It started on the 12/13 episode of Friday Night SmackDown when Wilder tripped during his entrance. That was intentional and it was meant to be the start of their comedy gimmick.
On the 12/20 episode of Friday Night SmackDown, The Revival lost to Heavy Machinery in a Miracle on 34th Street match that featured LEGOs and the match served to put over Otis and Mandy Rose's apparent blossoming relationship.
I asked a WWE source why the sudden shift for The Revival. I was told, "Vince expected them to sign new contracts by now and they haven't so this is what he wants to do with them." The source added, "He wants to lock people in months before their contracts expire and if they don't want to play ball then he's going to push them as comedy guys."
It's no secret that Dawson and Wilder's deals expire sometime around April. Wilder has a little bit extra time since they froze his contract for a few weeks when he was injured. There was an attempt to push them as a serious team for a few months but ultimately, in addition to their contracts not being signed yet, I was told by more than one person in WWE that McMahon doesn't see them as more than a mid-card act.
"[The Revival] grew up watching Mid-Atlantic Wrestling and they try to wrestle like the old school tag teams. Vince never watched any of that stuff. He didn't watch them in NXT either so he doesn't see anything special in them. Even if they sign new contracts, yea they might get a nice push for a few months but he will get tired of them again and they will be in a similar spot as they are in now. Things would work out better for them if they were sent back to NXT."
It would not surprise me to see WWE offer more money to Dawson and Wilder but with AEW offering good money and a better schedule, that could be tempting enough to make them decide to leave WWE.