Matt Hardy & John Morrison saving Jeff Hardy
In 2001, after Jeff's Intercontinental Championship run, Hardy was given a singles championship push. He won the European Championship on SmackDown! four days before Backlash. Hardy believes that he was pushed to win the title because of Jeff winning the Intercontinental Championship, and because of the effort he put into his previous storyline with Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin. He became the second-longest reigning European Champion in history and the longest-reigning American-born European Champion. Throughout the year, the Hardy Boyz continued to win as a tag team, winning the WWF Tag Team Titles two more times, and the WCW Tag Team Championship during the Invasion. By the end of the year, the Hardy Boyz began a storyline where they were having trouble co-existing. This culminated in a match between the two, with Lita as the guest referee, at the Vengeance pay-per-view, which Jeff won. At the beginning of 2002, it seemed Team Xtreme had patched things up. After the Brand Extension, however, Hardy was relegated to Heat while Jeff wrestled on the main show, Raw. On the August 12 episode of Raw, Hardy turned against Jeff during Jeff's match against Rob Van Dam, because Hardy was frustrated at not receiving a match against Van Dam for the number one contendership for the Intercontinental Championship. A short time later, Hardy joined the SmackDown! roster. On the October 3 episode of the show, Hardy took advantage of a run-in from Brock Lesnar to defeat The Undertaker. Having now dubbed himself "Matt Hardy: Version 1", and with his MF'er (Mattitude Follower) Shannon Moore in his corner, 2003 began with Hardy frantically trying to lose weight to get under the 220 lb (100 kg) weight limit to compete for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. After just barely making weight, Hardy defeated Billy Kidman at No Way Out to win the Cruiserweight title. At WrestleMania XIX, he successfully defended it against Rey Mysterio. The Mattitude faction then expanded to include Crash Holly as Moore's "Moore-on" (follower). He later disbanded the group and returned to Raw in order to be able to travel and work with his then girlfriend Lita, who just returned from an injury. On his first night back, he turned on Lita in storyline after teasing a proposal to her. Hardy spent little time on Raw and later turned into a fan favorite by engaging in a rivalry with Kan. Lita was also involved in the storyline, and Hardy took time off after a chokeslam from Kane off the stage during Lita and Kane's wedding. This time off was due to a knee injury. Along with his friend Rhyno, Hardy was released by WWE on April 11, 2005. Edge and Lita received jeers from the crowds at WWE events, often resulting in chants, "You screwed Matt", and, "We want Matt". Paul Heyman, in a "shoot" promo, mocked Edge for his actions at One Night Stand. Lita, for the first time in over five years, became a heel (villainous character) as a result of the affair becoming public knowledge. Fans began a petition on the internet, wanting WWE to re-sign Hardy, and amassed over fifteen thousand signatures. Hardy released two character promotional vignettes, that he was planning to use before he was offered a new contract by WWE. Hardy called himself The Angelic Diablo with the tagline "the scar will become a symbol" in reference to the way in which he had been treated by Lita and WWE. On the June 20 episode of Raw, during the storyline wedding of Edge and Lita, Hardy's entrance music and video were played when the priest asked if anyone had a reason why Edge and Lita should not be wed. On the July 11 episode of Raw, Hardy made his return, attacking Edge as he made his way to the ring. On the July 13 edition of WWE's webcast Byte This!, which featured Lita as its guest, one of the callers was Hardy himself. The two engaged in a huge argument which led to Lita walking off the set. Hardy appeared at a scheduled Ring of Honor (ROH) event on July 16 in Woodbridge, Connecticut where he defeated Christopher Daniels via submission. Hardy also cut a brief promo where he continued in full 'worked shoot' mode, attacking WWE and John Laurinaitis. Following his official return to WWE, Hardy was met with backlash following a match with Homicide from the fans at a subsequent ROH event, which Hardy won. The next day at his final ROH appearance, he lost to Roderick Strong.
On January 9, 2011, Hardy made his debut for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) at the Genesis pay-per-view, as part of the heel stable Immortal. He was the surprise opponent for Rob Van Dam, and defeated him to prevent Van Dam from receiving a match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, held by Hardy's brother Jeff. In the main event, Hardy attempted to interfere in Jeff's World Heavyweight Championship match with Mr. Anderson, but was stopped by Van Dam, which led to Jeff losing both the match and the championship. On the January 13 episode of TNA Impact! the Hardy Boyz reunited to defeat Anderson and Van Dam in a tag team match, following interference from Beer Money, Inc.. Two weeks later, Hardy suffered his first loss in TNA when he was defeated by Mr. Anderson. On February 13 at Against All Odds Rob Van Dam defeated Hardy in a rematch. On the following edition of Impact!, Hardy aligned himself with Ric Flair, as he turned on Fortune and jumped to Immortal. On March 13 at Victory Road Hardy was defeated by Flair's previous protégé, A.J. Styles. On April 17 at Lockdown, Immortal, represented by Hardy, Abyss, Bully Ray and Ric Flair, was defeated by Fortune members James Storm, Kazarian and Robert Roode and Christopher Daniels, who replaced an injured A.J. Styles, in a Lethal Lockdown match. On the April 21 episode of Impact!, Hardy faced Sting for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on Hulk Hogan's orders, but was defeated. In 1999, Hardy, along with his brother Jeff, appeared as an uncredited wrestler on That '70s Show episode "That Wrestling Show". Hardy and Jeff also appeared on Tough Enough in early 2001, talking to and wrestling the contestants. He appeared in the February 25, 2002 episode of Fear Factor competing against five other World Wrestling Federation wrestlers. He became the eventual winner, and won $50,000 for the American Cancer Society Hardy also appeared on the October 13, 2009 episode of Scare Tactics, as a mental patient who threatens to attack the prank's victim. In 2001, Hardy, Jeff and Lita appeared in Rolling Stone magazine's 2001 Sports Hall of Fame issue. In 2003, Hardy and Jeff, with the help of Michael Krugman, wrote and published their autobiography The Hardy Boyz: Exist 2 Inspire. As part of WWE, Hardy appeared in their DVD, The Hardy Boyz: Leap of Faith in 2001. On April 29, 2008, WWE released "Twist of Fate: The Matt and Jeff Hardy Story". The DVD featured footage of the brothers in OMEGA and WWE. Hardy also appears on The Hardy Show, an internet web show which features the Hardys, Shannon Moore and many of their friends.